The new Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady, New York, sits so close to the adjacent precast concrete parking structure that the two overlap. First-floor portions of the casino extend into the parking area, requiring additional attention to separate functions. The precast concrete design features a total-precast concrete structure and several contrasting finishes.
The precast design provided a number of benefits, including flexibility and aesthetic versatility. “Certainly, speed of construction was a key reason we chose precast,” says Brad Navarro, director of operations at Walker Parking Consultants, who designed the parking structure. “The client was very motivated to get the building opened as soon as possible. Precast concrete lent itself very well to getting the building into service quickly.”
Due to the logistics of the site and casino space requirements, part of the casino extends into the parking area, requiring a split-slab system to provide sufficient protection for the casino space that is topped by parking. “We topped the double-tees in that area with a buried waterproofing membrane and a cast-in-place topping,” he says. “It’s an enhanced waterproofing design but necessary in this type of space. It ensures no moisture will penetrate into the casino space. It’s a more rigid system than would typically be needed in a single-use parking garage.”
The four-level structure is six bays long and five bays wide, and contains approximately 310,000-square-feet. The bay spacing consists of two 48-foot end bays completed with 12-foot-wide double tees and four 45-foot interior ways using 15-foot-wide double tees, according to Timothy Breen, sales manager for Dailey Precast, which fabricated the components.
The first level features 20-foot-tall clearances and contains an interior speed ramp to the second level. Single helix ramps in the south bay provide access to upper levels. Two exterior stair walls were constructed at the southwest and northeast corners, with an internal elevator tower in the northwest corner.
In all, the precaster fabricated 788 components, including double tees, Inverted-tee beams beams, L-beams, Rectangular-beams, lite walls, spandrels, vertical and horizontal wall panels, flat slabs, stairs, and assorted accent pieces.
Precast also aided the structure’s appearance by providing a cost-efficient way to replicate the style of the casino. “Precast lent itself well to mimicking the finishes used on the casino in an economical way,” Navarro says.
The base color consists of a bright white cement mix that created a light overall look. “We submitted samples to all of the stakeholders, including community groups, and they all liked that look.” A gray stone-like appearance, created with a custom formliner that provides contrasting color and texture options on the stair towers and column covers. “It offsets the white concrete nicely and blends with the stone used on the casino.”
The formliner texture also was used on shear-wall panels, which were used on three sides to open up the interiors.
A corrosion inhibitor was added in some horizontal elements to provide an additional layer of protection against the elements. Additional designs were created to combine columns, shear walls, lite walls, and stair/elevator wall panels to create additional levels of parking on top of the structure at a later date if desired.
The precast components took two months to erect, finishing in August 2016. The site was a reclaimed location along the river, necessitating additional support for the foundations to secure them in the poor soil. “It wasn’t a tight site to work on, but the soil conditions did require extra attention,” Navarro says.