A.A. Boos wins Build Ohio Award for GateKeeperWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A.A. Boos & Sons Inc. of Oregon was selected as one of the recipients of a prestigious award for its role in the construction of the GateKeeper roller coaster at Cedar Point.
A.A. Boos received its bronze and green marble Build Ohio Award during the 22nd annual Build Ohio 2013 Celebration conducted by the Associated General Contractors of Ohio on Nov. 15 in Columbus. The company was honored for its unique work on GateKeeper, which was completed in the spring of 2013 for Cedar Fair Entertainment.
“We thank our partner, Cedar Fair, for being such a wonderful partner and for demanding that all components of this project be built in Ohio by Ohioans,” said Scott Hayes, vice president of A.A. Boos.
Hayes said the project was designed by a roller coaster design firm in Switzerland but all of the parts and skilled labor originated in Ohio.
A.A. Boos functioned as the general contractor for the $30 million GateKeeper project that was started in September 2012 and completed in April in time for the coaster’s official debut May 11.
“It was a complicated and challenging job that our talented workforce embraced. They approached this endeavor with creativity and flexibility, and most importantly, performed this job safely,” Hayes said.
“We have the best product on the planet: our people. We have a consistent workforce that’s centered around health and safety. Everything starts with that. We keep our employees safe in a very dangerous industry,” he said.
Hayes said that most of their 160 employees have worked there for many years, which has allowed them to learn the way A.A. Boos does things.
Top management is committed to involving the employees in the process through continuous communication, holding people accountable to see that the plan is executed.
“This is the most difficult foundation job I’ve ever done,” said Seth Vargo, project manager at A.A. Boos, about their work on the GateKeeper.
A.A. Boos was responsible for laying the 250 foundations, or footers, required for the GateKeeper project, 196 for the coaster and another 54 to support buildings associated with it, Vargo said.
The plan for those foundations looks like a random pattern, like stars in the night sky just plunked down here and there.
“It might look random but each one has to be exactly aligned and, with very few exceptions, no two foundations line up or are oriented in the same direction,” said Carl Schober, surveyor for A.A. Boos on the GateKeeper project.
“It all comes together like a big erector set. There is no room for error because lives hang in the balance. And all of this precision is built on sand,” said Mark McGee, project superintendent.
McGee said the Cedar Point peninsula makes construction operations extremely difficult as they’re working on what he said is basically an island. They had to build roads to get the concrete and pumps in place where needed because the sand wouldn’t support the weight.
The company committed two of its best to this project by designating McGee as superintendent and Schober as surveyor, Hayes said.
“We had an excellent crew. Everybody came every day. There were no excuses for rain or snow. They wanted to be part of making history here,” McGee said.
Cedar Point set seven world records with the addition of the GateKeeper, according to Cedar Fair Entertainment. The seven records are:
- Longest wing coaster at 4,164 feet.
- Fastest non-launched wing coaster at 67 mph.
- Tallest inversion on any roller coaster at 170 feet.
- Longest drop on a wing coaster of 164 feet.
- Most inversions on a wing coaster with six.
- Most roller coaster track at one park with 56,702 feet.
- Most rides at one park with 72.
GateKeeper greets guests with two rolling flyover maneuvers while slotting through “keyholes” over the new front gates to Cedar Point. The attraction thrilled more than 1 million riders within 10 weeks of its opening.
Underneath the high-flying excitement is 12 million pounds of concrete in 250 footers built by A.A. Boos.
Many of the workers from Boos were among the first to ride GateKeeper. When asked if he was nervous being one of the first to ride it, Hayes replied, “Absolutely not. I have complete faith in the way it was built.”
Tags: 22nd annual Build Ohio 2013 Celebration, A.A. Boos & Sons Inc., Associated General Contractors of Ohio, Build Ohio Award, Carl Schober, Cedar Fair Entertainment, Cedar Point, Columbus, Ohio, Oregon, Scott Hayes, surveyor for A.A. Boos, Switzerland, The Gatekeeper roller coaster, vice president of A.A. Boos