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Concrete Mix Caused Cracks in $70M Stadium

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

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A new report has given officials more insight as to what went wrong in the construction of a $70 million high school football stadium in McKinney, Texas.

The report, titled “Visitor Concourse Slab Distress Evaluation,” was issued by third-party investigative firm Nelson Forensics, and is the second of three reviews that is looking into the “excessive and unsightly” cracking that was first discovered on the structure in January.

The cause of the cracks? Excessive water in the concrete, according to the report.

What Happened

The cracks, located at both the home and visitors’ concourses, as well as the lower bowl, were reportedly first seen at the beginning of the year. Since then, the McKinney Independent School District hired Nelson to work with the team to get to the bottom of why the larger-than-expected cracks have formed.

Construction manager Manhattan Construction Co., along with design firm Stantec Architecture, went before the school board in June to assure school officials that they were cooperating with Nelson and fully intend to fix whatever arises from the investigation at no cost to taxpayers.

The district had hoped to have the stadium open by Aug. 30, the start of high school football season, but that is yet to be determined.

The Report

Nelson’s first report concluded that there was only slab cracking occurring, not damage to support structures.

The new report details the “how and why” of the cracks, and concluded that they occurred because of a combination of three factors:

  • Too much water was added to the concrete mixture, causing it to shrink excessively as it dried;
  • The cross section along pier lines didn’t have enough concrete; and
  • The area had insufficient steel reinforcement to control the shrinkage.

The report concluded that as it stands right now, the cracks do not compromise the strength of the slabs. However, over time without repair, the cracks could widen and the reinforcing steel could erode, which would then cause concern.

As for the “why,” the report concluded that “excessive” amounts of water were found on mixing trucks at the job site and that extra water was added to the concrete mixture after its initial mixing, or “re-tempering,” resulting in detrimental effects to the final concrete.

The final price tag for the fixes has yet to be determined, and officials are still awaiting Nelson’s final report.


Tagged categories: concrete; Good Technical Practice; North America; Stadiums/Sports Facilities

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (8/1/2018, 8:02 AM)

Yep, ideally concrete mixes have just barely enough water for hydration (cure), which is typically not enough for easy placement. Use superplasticizers and appropriate overall mix design to solve this issue, not more water.

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