Penn Park Athletic Complex

Penn Park Athletic Complex

Tennis Courts
MSE Precast Retaining Walls
Philadelphia, PA
Turner Construction
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

Penn Park Athletic Complex

In December 2009 RECo responded to an invitation from our sister company Menard to develop innovative and cost-effective alternative solutions for construction of retaining walls. The synergy plan focused on broadening the scope of work for the Soletanche-Freyssinet group - Menard, RECo, and Nicholson Construction. The group’s mission was to comprise a comprehensive Value Engineering Proposal to be submitted by Menard to an exclusive contractor, who would in turn, utilize our group’s solutions as part of their proposal to the Owner.

Retaining Walls were proposed for two particular and applicable sites within the project scope, a 12-court, split level tennis center with built in bleacher seating and a multipurpose softball field with stadium seating. The bid documents, however, proposed pile and footing foundations beneath massive cast in place walls for perimeter walls and seating levels.

  • Working closely with the architect, RECo was able to develop MSE solutions to satisfy both structural and aesthetic requirements desired by the Owner in these areas. Perimeter walls surrounding the sunken tennis courts and softball fields were designed as full height panels of varying widths. To accommodate the required fence atop the walls, the top of the panels flared out from 152mm to 305mm. Sleeves were cast into the panels for post placement in the field.
  • Light post units to be incorporated along the walls were designed to accommodate loading of the large lighting fixtures by placing the precast unit onto cast-in leveling legs with protruding rebar beneath the units being cast in place into a footing. Lighting conduit, anchor bolts and special geometric features added to the complexity and functionality of these precast units.
  • Large cast-in place stepping “L” sections originally designed for seating levels, were redesigned using 152mm thick panels with lengths dictated by seating and stair locations. The fill zones between each panel level allowed for short reinforcing ladders to create a “sandwich” connection to stabilize the mass.
  • Special panels were designed to accommodate fire hydrants, scoreboards, stairways, handicapped seating areas, and radial alignments of walls.
  • Other design considerations included drainage, landscaping clearances, load transfer platforms and MSE interfaces with cast in place structures.

RECo’s innovative designs, paired with Menard’s CMCs and Nicholson’s micropiles provided the select contractor with substantial economical savings in value engineered solutions.

Successful in their bid for the project, the RECo walls as now designed and constructed greatly minimize the cross sectional area of concrete required as compared to the original design. In addition, the VE design resulted ina much faster installation period than that of the original cast in place design. Moreover, a group of much more aesthetically pleasing structures has been realized.

RECo’s solutions were welcomed and approved by the nation’s 5th largest contractor, 1st largest builder of sports complexes, and 1st largest “green” builder, Turner Construction, a Hochtief subsidiary. RECo’s innovations were also celebrated by one of the region’s top architectural firms (Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates), a landscape architecture firm that creates environmentally sustainable and experientially rich places across a wide range of landscape scales, from city to campus to garden.