Cal-Poly Pomona Library

Cal-Poly Pomona Library

Removing concrete panels while Cal-Poly Pomona University Library continued to be used required some clever engineering.

Project Details

Project Type: Concrete Cutting, Demolition
Location: Pomona, CA
General Contractor: Rudolph & Sletten
Contact: Bill Rodgers

Start Date: February 2006
Finish Date: May 2008
Contract Value: $463,000
Contract Type: Fixed Price

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Job Highlights

  • Renovation of library key to University’s growth
  • Job consisted of all hard demolition
  • Steady progress required on job, minimal impact on students and faculty
  • Required moderately complex engineering
  • Remove panels without damaging structure
  • Hazardous materials abatement at key points in project


Today more than 8,000 users come through the library at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, making use of state-of-the-art online resources as well as books, periodicals and special collections of a facility that can trace its roots back several decades. When the University needed to expand the library they had a unique problem: how to build out the facility while allowing students and faculty to continue using library facilities. Fast Forward – chosen for the demolition portion of the contract –had a unique challenge: remove original architectural panels on the outside of the building so that modifications could be made to the structure’s foundation, and the building could be expanded to accommodate additional space for the growing library.

Despite the engineering and logistical challenges, Fast Forward rose to the occasion to complete the project on schedule and on budget.

The bottom line is that, as with many buildings, the original construction work that was done on the Library was never intended to be taken apart – which made this particular demolition job a unique one. The concrete panels on the outside of the library had been pre-cast, and then carefully installed in a way that made their removal a challenge: the method of removal involved some engineering that hadn’t been done before, and the hazardous materials removal had to take place in parallel with the removal of each panel.

The job was completed floor-by-floor, starting with the ground floor. The first step was removal of any evident or known hazardous materials, including asbestos, which was done by an Abatement contractor. Following that, Fast Forward workers cored two holes through each panel to ready them for removal using cabling and a crane. As this work was proceeding, the Abatement workers used a pressure washer to clean out any new hazardous materials that became evident, prior to the physical removal of the panel. These steps were followed meticulously for the removal of each panel, although small teams of workers ensured that work was being done on more than one panel at a time.

As the outer edges of ground floor were cleared out (the inner section of each floor continued to be used by library staff, after it was sealed off using drywall and plastic sheeting), the parts of the concrete floor were removed so that earthquake retrofitting could be performed on the building’s structural support columns. The goal was to complete eight panels per day, and Fast Forward was able to keep the demolition portion of the job moving smoothly, so that the General Contractor, Rudolph and Sletten, could work on new construction for the building’s extension.

It is worth noting that, even though this job was done prior to the newer Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (or LEED) specifications that are typically always required today, Fast Forward sought to divert nearly all of the demolition waste product from landfill to a recycling center.

Rudolph & Sletten would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Fast Forward for the successful completion of our project.  This project proved to be a significant challenge and allowed all of us to demonstrate to one another our ability to successfully overcome both construction and schedule obstacles, without compromising quality and safety.

Abel Gonzalez Jr., Senior Project Executive