Standing Ovation for Arena Duct Delivery, Installation

Dec. 1, 2010
The new Huntington Arena, Toledo, OH, is a comfortable venue for concerts and other events, thanks to contractor/fabricator teamwork.

Ken Gabel and his colleagues at VM Systems Inc., Toledo, OH, get to admire their handiwork each time they attend an event at the new Huntington Center. Gabel, operations manager for VM Systems, is pleased that the facility— which just recently earned LEED® Gold certification, is attracting such crowds. It makes VM Systems’ hard work on this project even more satisfying.

The facility, which is located in the center of downtown Toledo, 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. Their team coordinated the delivery and installation of all the ductwork in the arena, kitchen hoods, and stainless steel wall panels.

Semco, Columbia, MO, specializes in 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, which facilitated 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 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 away), and transported it to the jobsite on company trucks. Cranes were used to lift the materials from the trucks and into the work area.

Lesson in Teamwork
The willingness to tackle challenging, specialized work is something that both Semco and VM Systems have in common. It helped make the Huntington Arena project a success, and ensured that the project was completed in time for the Toledo Walleye hockey team's season opener.

Gabel was impressed by Semco's action plan and project follow-through.

"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 history of diversification in HVAC sheet metal fabrication and other areas, including metal roofs, wall panels, gutters, downspouts, and safety rails. This diversification has helped maintain the company, which averages approximately 100 in-house workers at any given time, through a tough economy.