Roy Anderson Puts Final Touches on Jackson Courthouse

Fri April 02, 2004 - Southeast Edition
Maybelle G. Cagle

Construction of the Mississippi Supreme Court’s new home is nearly complete, with the exterior limestone now a focal point of Jackson’s downtown.

The 10,500 pieces of limestone that cover the building’s exterior make for the most outstanding feature of the new facility, which covers 140,000 sq. ft. (13,006 sq m) of the city.

Project superintendent Andy Scoggins, of Roy Anderson Corp (RAC), said the limestone was drawn from the “crown” quarry, adjacent to the “empire” quarry, which supplied the limestone that adorns the Empire State Building in New York City.

Pieces of the limestone weigh approximately 400 lbs. (181.4 kg), although the heaviest pieces weigh 15,000 lbs. (6,804 kg).

Because of the weight of the limestone and the height of the project, more scaffolding had to be used than what is normally required on this type of job. A special system of pulleys was designed to guide each piece of limestone into place, according to Scoggins.

Col. J.K. Stringer, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, said the use of exterior limestone compliments the state capitol across the street.

“It brings continuity to the Capitol Complex that can be seen in other prominent buildings such as the Woolfolk and Archives and History buildings,” he said. The Mississippi Department of Finance is overseeing the job.

Over the course of the project, four trucks on average delivered limestone panels to the site each week. Every piece was positioned with anchor bolts, according to its identifying number and design specifications. The panels were placed in an interlocking pattern from the ground up. Each piece was shimmed, caulked and treated with a special sealant.

The work by done by Roy Anderson Corp. also included demolition of part of the existing Supreme Court building; construction of the structural foundation; building shell and limestone work and some HVAC, plumbing and electrical work.

Altogether, 150 people including sub-contractors worked on the project.

Subcontractors included the Mississippi-based Thomas Floyd Masonry and Lucia, a Texas based company.

Most of the complex work was completed by ECD, a joint venture of the architectural firms Eley and Associates, Cook Douglas and Dale and Associates, including restoration of the Woolfolk Building, west of the Capitol, and the construction of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History building on the eastern edge of the Capitol Complex.

Materials used on the building’s exterior include 10,500 pieces of limestone worth $5 million; 15,000 cu. yds. (11,468.3 cu m) of concrete; 48,000 lb. (21,772 kg) columns that came in six sections to adorn the front of the building.

The sections were pieced together. Precast drill pilings from Cajun Construction of Baton Rouge, LA, were used for the deep foundation. “This is the heaviest possible foundation,” said Scoggins.

Crews used a 154 ft. (47 m) pump from Hercules for the concrete work. They also employed two cranes on the job including a 185-ft. (56.4 m) tall Mantiwoc 4100 crane with 210 ft. (64 m) of main boom and 30 ft. (9.1 m) of jib, reaching 240 ft. (73.2 m) in total. Another crane used was a 160-ft. (48.7 m) tall Manitoc 4000 with 150 ft. (45.7 m) of main boom and no jib.

The atrium in the new building was the biggest challenge involving concrete work because of its complicated layout, according to Scoggins. He praised Bob Ammons, chief engineer of Spencer Engineers, a Jackson-based structural engineering firm.

RAC, which began its work in November 2001, completed the exterior of the building in February.

The work began with the demolition of part of the Gartin Building, which was built in 1972.

Scoggins said RAC removed approximately 20 percent of the Gartin Building and 40 ft. (12.2 m) of the adjacent parking garage and canopy. Existing utilities had to be removed and re-routed so the remainder of the Gartin Building could remain functional.

Partial tenant occupancy is scheduled for Feb. 2, 2006. Building of this facility is part of a much larger project, which includes construction of a pedestrian mall, demolition of the Carroll Gartin Building, which currently houses the Supreme Court, completion of construction of the front portion of the new court facility, renovations of the remaining two floors of the Gartin Building and the completion of the Siller Building parking facility. The project completion date is tentatively scheduled for 2007.

“As with many larger construction and/or renovation projects, this project was funded by the legislature in multiple phases. In the case of the new court facility, its construction was funded in two phases,” said Stringer.

The state legislature made three appropriations totaling $36 million for construction. The first appropriation in 1998 made for pre-planning was for a little more than $1 million. In 1999, the legislature appropriated $20 million for the exterior of the building.

The final appropriation in 2003 was for $16 million to fund construction of the building’s interior and to buy furniture and equipment.