Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Gloom of Night


Rembco completes James Madison University Bleacher Project With No Delays

James Madison University was faced with the challenge of adding 10,000 seats to its football stadium. The tough part was doing the job after the season’s last game and before the home opener next year—a very narrow window considering the scope of the project.

So JMU issued a challenge of its own: bidders should plan to hit the schedule goals or step aside and let somebody else do the job. Delays were not an option.

Rembco owner, Clay Griffin, accepted the challenge knowing full well it would mean an all-out effort to complete the job right and on-time.

Immediately after the last game of the football season, the old bleachers at Bridgeforth Stadium were demolished and removed. As demolition was being completed, Rembco was mobilizing and preparing to stage the site.

“We had only six weeks to put in 300 piles,” says Rembco Operations Manager Ken Bowman. “That would leave just enough time to construct the new bleachers before the Dukes kicked off a new season. The schedule was very compressed. There was NO room for unwanted surprises. So of course, we immediately had some.”

Happy Holidays

Rembco’s pile installation began in late November – as did the onset of winter. While Harrisonburg, Virginia, isn’t known for its nasty winters, this winter was an exception.

“We had a ton of snow, sleet and freezing temperatures,” recalls Bowman. “Working round the clock after a 23-inch snowfall, and in sub-freezing temperatures really tested our guys. It sure wasn’t a picturesque scene like comes to mind when you think of the Christmas holidays.”

Aside from its toll on the crew, cold temperatures threatened to seriously slow down progress.

“We were drilling in clay with four different rigs going constantly,” says Bowman. “We had to continually flush the holes with water to get the drill cuttings out. That along with the freezing temperatures meant we had ice around the rigs and icing in the lines. Still, we kept drilling. As soon as we’d put on a pile cap, another contractor’s crew was right behind to excavate for the footings, then another to frame it up to pour, and then another to pour the concrete. That’s the way it went for six weeks.”

They Score!

In spite of the harsh and demanding conditions, the Rembco team managed to put in 300 piles in the allotted time. “We were even called on to provide some water stop grouting along the southern edge of the football field before going home,” says Griffin. “and the bleachers were ready for the home opener in September.”

Many of JMU’s loyal fans were able to watch the first kickoff that fall from their new seats. In fact, a crowd of 16,612 were rewarded with a great home performance as the Dukes pulverized Morehead State, 48-7.

Probably only a few of those in attendance realized that they were sitting on another great performance—300 Rembco micropiles and a water-stop grout curtain.

To learn more about Rembco’s micropile expertise and capabilities, click here.


Photo: By P.H. (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


About Rembco

Rembco is a geotechnical contractor that specializes in foundation support, soil stabilization and specialty grouting. Rembco offers micropiles, minipiles, soil nailing, rock anchors, pressure grouting, compaction grouting, compaction piles, chemical grouting, sinkhole repair, soil anchors and more. Headquartered in Knoxville, TN, Rembco has been providing geotechnical services (ground improvement, rock slide stabilization, excavation shoring, sinkhole remediation, hazardous material encapsulation, and underground liquid migration control) for over 30 years, serving clients throughout the nation.

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