Brick by Brick
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
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The new home for the Oklahoma State University Ferguson College of Agriculture continues to grow on the northeast corner of Monroe Street and Farm Road on the Stillwater campus.
With more than 100 people working on the building every day, construction has stayed on schedule, said Randy Raper, assistant vice president of facilities in the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
“It’s moving rapidly right now,” Raper said. “We may surpass having 200 people simultaneously working on this building.
“This is the time when it really makes a big difference,” he added. “We have been able to keep everything on schedule, and that really has to do with the great weather we have had during this project.”
When complete, the state-of-the-art OSU Extension, teaching and research facility will gross 194,091 square feet across three floors.
The construction of the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall requires one of the largest cranes ever used in the Stillwater area. The crane stands 143 feet tall and is 265 feet long.
When in use, one worker makes the trip up the 140 steps to the operator’s seat and stays until the end of the workday. Climbing to the top of the crane takes approximately 35 to 40 minutes.
The crane will be used for the duration of the project and is used to set column forms, pour concrete, unload trucks, and complete other tasks as part of the construction process, Raper said.
The building’s infrastructure is made of concrete, and the last pour was completed in early March, Raper said.
Generally, the workers poured concrete between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m., he said.
This allowed the concrete to have a constant temperature, so the concrete would not cure too rapidly, he added. It also allowed workers to finish in a timely manner.
“We do not have enough concrete trucks in Stillwater to handle a job like this,” Raper said.
Concrete trucks were brought in from Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
“It took 22 large concrete structure pours to complete all four levels of the building,” said Devon Madden, office engineer for Flintco and 2022 OSU engineering technology graduate.
“Each concrete truck can hold up to 10 cubic yards of concrete,” Madden added. “It took a minimum of 35 concrete trucks to complete one of our larger pours.”
On the technology side of the construction, the building is unique to anything else in Oklahoma, said Mandy Gross, senior manager of strategic and vice president of communications for OSU Agriculture.
The workers use the Hilti JAIBOT, a semi-automated anchor/hanger point layout and drilling robot programmed to drill holes in the concrete structure, Raper said.
In March 2023, several OSU Agriculture officials joined the project’s construction partners in celebrating the “topping out” of the New Frontiers building, Gross said.
A “topping out” is when the builders celebrate the installation of one of the last beams or the highest point in the construction process.
One of the highest beams was the orange beam with signatures from the college’s alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff.
“The topping-out milestone with the installation of the signed beam was a great way to bring additional recognition to the New Frontiers project,” Gross said. “The beam signing and topping out provided opportunities to celebrate reaching the campaign goal in record time and keep the buzz going for New Frontiers.”
The New Frontiers Agricultural Hall is scheduled to open Fall 2024.
Story By: Tatum Swink | Cowboy Journal