The National Mall in Washington, D.C., reportedly has more than 30 million visitors each year, which is more than Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon National Parks combined — and according to the Trust for the National Mall, this has resulted in disrepair.
“The park is home to some of our nation’s most recognizable monuments, memorials, and important events …” the group’s Web site states. “It serves as a symbol of our democracy and provides every American and international visitor a chance to connect with our country’s history and heroes. The Trust is dedicated to restoring and improving this important space.”
It has been 30 years since the National Mall’s last major renovation, and the National Park Service estimates the cost of the current restoration will be approximately $400 million.
A portion of the overall project involves restoring the mall lawn and making other improvements between 3rd and 7th Street. The work includes the installation of engineered soil medium to resist soil compaction, durable turf varieties, and granite edging. New sustainable systems to improve soil drainage and collect stormwater for irrigation will reduce the use of potable water and help improve regional water quality. The contract work is to be completed by December 2012.
Soil screening for the job is being done by Stancill Contracting Inc. of Perryville, Md.
“This is a unique project for us because of the high profile nature of the National Mall, the project’s proximity to the inauguration, and the opportunity to be a part of our national history,” company owner Emlyn Stancill said.
“So much happens on the National Mall.”
Stancills began screening soil at the Mall in February.
“Our work includes the screening and blending of the soil on the first three panels of the Mall closest to the Capital building,” Stancill said. “In the spirit of conservation, the existing soil was excavated by Valley Crest Landscape Development Corporation and was screened by Stancill Contracting Inc. [my business] in collaboration with Stancills Inc. [my family business]. We will be creating an engineered soil medium by blending the screened soil with compost and sand to create a soil that will resist compaction and support the durable turf varieties that will be selected for the Mall.”
Inclement weather has been the biggest challenge for Stancill, resulting in some delays. However, she is optimistic that the screening and blending of the soil will be completed on schedule.
“The weather affects the soil characteristics, making it very gummy and cohesive; less than ideal for screening and blending,” she said. “On the bright side, one of the wonderful things about this project is what a pleasure it has been to work with Valley Crest and Clark Construction [the prime contractor]. Both companies have been collaboration-focused, and those relationships, which could have been a major challenge, have been a benefit.”
Valley Crest Landscape Development is the major subcontractor for the project. The business is a national landscape development company working on projects all over the country, including several more in the Washington, D.C., area. One of those projects is a new headquarters for the Coast Guard, a job that Stancills also is providing materials for.
Equipment for the National Mall job includes a portable blending plant that was designed and built by Stancills for use on the site. It has the capability of blending up to three components at a time.
In addition, a Sandvik QA 440 is being used to screen and do additional blending, and a Komatsu WA 500 feeds the plant.
Valley Crest estimates that Stancills will be making approximately 11,500 cu. yds. (8,792 cu m) of engineered soil for the project.
“I need to mention that this definitely would not have been possible without the help of our amazing crew,” Stancill said. “We could buy or build the best equipment in the world, but without the talent and dedication of our employees, it would amount to nothing. Our guys worked countless hours to get the portable blender up and running and are as invested in the success of the project as we are. Good people make all the difference.”
Stancill Contracting Inc. is a local D.C. business that was created by Emlyn Stancill in 2011.
“After having worked in my family business, Stancills Inc., for 13 years, acquiring essential experience in material handling and processing, I founded Stancill Contracting Inc. as a woman-owned and operated Washington, D.C., contracting business to supply materials and services for the green building envelope,” Stancill said. “This includes consulting, on-site soil blending services, green roof, green wall and vegetated retaining wall soils, as well as solar panels and at-grade bio-retention, and garden and other storm waste water management and filtration materials.”
Stancill noted that Stancills Inc. is a family business that began as a sand and gravel mining operation. It was started in the mid-1980s, borrowing from years of experience in sand and gravel construction and sports fields, along with other construction materials.
“Today, Stancills Inc. is the East Coast’s premier soil blending company, with specialized soils being shipped as far north as Niagara, N.Y., as far west as Cincinnati, Ohio, and as far east as Bermuda,” Stancill said. “I am very blessed to have a beautiful relationship with my father, Terry Stancill, whom I have worked with since graduating from college in 1999. Together, we have taken the company from small sand and gravel producer to nationally recognized soil blenders. I am grateful every day that I have had the opportunity to work with such an inspired and talented man.”
Stancill noted that together, she and her father take joy in funneling their creativity and ingenuity into their business.
“We are always changing and refining and sometimes taking chances,” she said. “It has really made any mundane aspects of the construction industry much more exciting. There is a lot of room for innovation in our world of construction, and I look forward to seeing that aspect grow and thrive.”