The ALL Family of Companies responds to a nationwide building boom on college campuses.

An anonymous gift of $75 million is allowing Kenyon College, a small liberal arts institution 50 miles northeast of Columbus, OH, to transform its campus. Ground has been broken on the college’s “West Quad” project, major construction consisting of a new library, classroom building and underground parking garage. The project also represents the inaugural runs for two recently purchased tower cranes from the ALL Family of Companies.

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ALL Tower Crane operators Christina Easton and Wendy Stone have received a lot of attention on the Kenyon College campus. 

Smoot Construction of Columbus is the general contractor that awarded the tower crane contract to ALL Crane Rental Corp. of Columbus, with ALL Tower Crane providing strategic support. The towers used at Kenyon College are a 17.6-ton Potain MDT 389 L16 flat-top and a 22-ton Potain MD 509 M20 hammerhead.

“Having two tower cranes on the same site is not very common,” said Chris Kirk, sales representative for ALL Crane Rental Corp. “Because of the scale of the combined construction for the two buildings, one wouldn’t have been efficient in this case.”

The whole package

In addition to the tower cranes, ALL Crane supplied related engineering services, a big plus for the customer. ALL Tower Crane General Manager Sam Moyer is a licensed professional engineer, and the company has a team of engineers on staff to serve customer needs. Their presence can accelerate projects because they are a resource to answer questions, resolve technical issues and keep planning and design work in-house. Moyer, for example, designed the foundations for both cranes on the college Kenyon jobsite, offering time savings and cost savings for the customer.

The MDT 389, configured with a freestanding hook height of 136 feet and a 229-foot jib, will help build the four-story library called Kenyon Commons. While making the latest technology available to students, the library will also include educational spaces that can flex to the collaborative and project-based work students pursue in and out of the classroom.

The MD 509 is configured with a freestanding hook height of 181 feet and a 262-foot jib and will help build the classroom building and the parking garage under it. The building will be dedicated to social sciences, but it will also house the registration and financial aid offices and include a 300-seat auditorium, described by the college as a critical need for lectures, performances and other events.

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Kenyon College’s West Quad project is being funded by a $75 million gift, the largest in college history. 

Safety and performance

Both tower cranes include Manitowoc’s Crane Control System (CCS), which offers high safety standards paired with increased performance. CCS features increased function speeds and hoisting capacities; optimized ergonomic controls able to be tailored to suit each operator’s preferences; fast, easy setup on the jobsite; and remote monitoring and diagnostics capability to reduce downtime.

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The view from operator Wendy Stone’s “office.”

“The cranes were selected for this project based on lifting requirements,” said Kirk. “We keep a modern fleet and, whenever possible, use the newest available equipment so that our customers get the maximum benefit from our acquisitions. That is the case here, where these are both new cranes on their first jobs.”

On a smaller campus, and one where new construction is relatively rare, the two tower cranes have received a lot of attention from students and faculty. They stand high above the mature trees in this pastoral setting. The student newspaper, the Kenyon Collegian, also took notice that two operators on the job are women and ran a feature article on the subject.

Dynamic duo

It wasn’t planned that women would be working the cranes, although Christina Easton and Wendy Stone are both highly respected operators, Kirk said.

“It was the luck of the draw,” said Kirk. “It was an assignment like any other job. Individually, Christina and Wendy are accomplished in the field. We get requests for both of them from big-time contractors in the area.”

The project area is on the west side of the campus, between the art history and museum gallery building and the studio arts building. The former library, which had aged out of usefulness and would have required $18 million in repairs, was demolished to make way for the new project. Construction began in the spring and is expected to be completed by fall of 2020.

Other cranes go to school

Construction in higher education has been on the upswing in recent years, as colleges and universities fight for student share in an increasingly competitive market.

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University of Tennessee: ALL Crane is helping to build the University of Tennessee’s new $129 million engineering services building in Knoxville.

It makes sense they would focus on new facilities, as more than two-thirds of students indicate the condition and modernity of campus buildings plays a role in the institution they choose.

With nearly a dozen tower cranes dedicated to education-related construction, projects tied to education currently account for ALL Crane’s second-largest allocation of tower cranes, behind only commercial/residential construction.

“It has doubled from last year’s pace,” said Sam Moyer, general manager of ALL Tower Crane. Case in point: the construction of a $129 million, 228,000 square-foot engineering services building at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The instruction and research facility will house the nuclear engineering department and professional research laboratories. But this high-profile job just scratches the surface.

ALL Crane is also helping to construct a new six-story optometry building at Ohio State University, the 10-story Rubenstein Forum at the University of Chicago, and a new campus building at Loyola University. Other tower crane-related projects include several student housing projects adjacent to college campuses. These include the University of Tennessee again; the seven-story, 55-unit Pugh Center at Penn State; and a 221-unit, 600-bed facility near Auburn University in Alabama, known as Auburn Uncommon, that includes a 600-car subterranean parking garage.

“In addition to wanting state-of-the art campus facilities, today’s college students want the places they live to have something extra,” said Moyer. “Dorms are changing to more of a group atmosphere, and apartments have more amenities than we might have previously expected from housing geared toward students.”

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University of Chicago: The Rubenstein Forum at the University of Chicago will be an interdisciplinary meeting place with LEED Silver certification.

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