Standing Ovation for Arena Duct Delivery, Installation

Nov. 23, 2010
Delivery of construction materials, including the large duct, had to be carefully timed to arrive precisely as needed.

Ken Gabel — operations manager for VM Systems, Inc., Toledo, OH, and his colleagues — get to admire their handiwork each time they attend an event at the new Huntington Center.

The facility was recently given LEED® Gold certification. Located in the center of downtown Toledo, the project provided many challenges for the sheet metal contracting firm. Tight deadlines, no storage area, and no general contractor made things more difficult for everyone involved, particularly VM Systems, Inc. The VM Systems team coordinated the delivery and installation of all the ductwork in the arena, as well as the kitchen hoods and stainless steel wall panels.

Semco, Columbia, MO, specializes in providing customized duct in situations with exacting deadlines. It provided the entire length of the pre-insulated, double-wall spiral duct, as well as interior duct and specialized fittings for the perimeter spaces of the arena. Volume dampers and accessories were also factory installed by the manufacturer, facilitating jobsite work.

Close Quarters, Tight Deadlines
It was a massive HVAC project, as 84-in. diameter, double-wall spiral duct had to be installed in the upper part of the 82-ft. high arena — just a few feet above the top tier seating. Bound on all four sides by downtown buildings, the jobsite left no room for material storage during the primary construction phase. Delivery of all construction materials, including the large duct, had to be carefully timed to arrive precisely as needed.

“We had a very short window of time between the truss installation and the roof decking to complete our installations,” Gabel says. “We literally had to follow the truss installers weekly in order to get all the duct installed on time.”

To make all this work, VM Systems had the ductwork shipped to the shop (located a few miles from the construction site) and then transported it to the jobsite on company trucks. The material was lifted by crane from the trucks and directly into the installed space. Talk About Teamwork In a tough economy, flexibility and diversification are important components to success. Semco and VM Systems share a willingness to tackle challenging, specialized work. That attitude certainly helped make Huntington Arena a success, and be ready in time for opening season of the Toledo Walleye hockey team.

“Semco had a very specific schedule to follow. They provided piece-marked drawings and had to fabricate the duct in the exact order that it was installed. They delivered the material to our shop every other day in order to meet the tight time schedule,” Gabel says. VM Systems has a long history of diversification in HVAC sheet metal fabrication, and other areas, including metal roofs, wall panels, gutters, downspouts, safety rails, and more. This diversification has helped maintain the company, which averages approximately 100 in-house workers at any given time, through a tough economy. Arena ductwork had to be installed in between the trusses, to leave plenty of clearance for large props and equipment brought in for events like concerts and circuses.