Carl Walker Construction

Case Study: Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem Parking Garage


The Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem needed to open its doors by May 2009, on the former brownfield site of the legendary Bethlehem Steel Corporation plant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This Casino was designed to highlight the steelmaking heritage of the location, the new casino, owned by Sands Bethworks Gaming, LLC, preserves many of the original mill features and incorporates a new, 3,300 car parking garage built by Carl Walker Construction, Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


The $40 million parking structure rests on a 209,000 square-foot site that is approximately two football fields wide and two football fields deep. It climbs six stories into the air, and is immediately adjacent to the casino. In addition, it houses an intermodal transportation facility to accommodate the constant flow of tour busses that carry patrons to and from the resort.



The client requested a structure that emulated the look of existing buildings on the site previously used for steelmaking, The casino also needed to meet opening timeframes. Due to the late turnover of the jobsite, cold weather posed significant challenges in the area of concrete installation.



Recognizing the urgency of the compressed schedule, Carl Walker Construction implemented a cold weather protection program that allowed for concrete installation in inclement weather. The firm also worked double shifts and weekends to accelerate progress on the job, and to maintain harmony with the schedules of other contractors working on the site.


Fortunately, the jobsite provided excellent ingress and egress, which facilitated easy delivery of construction materials. Carl Walker Construction worked within the footprint of the structure and erected the parking garage in sections. Galvanized structural components were stockpiled at the galvanizing facility and then delivered to the site in sequence as construction progressed.


Carl Walker Construction’s Design/Build process saved the company more than $3.25 million by value engineering 1,300 tons of galvanized structural steel from the original parking garage design proposed in the project RFP. Carl Walker Construction worked closely with CMC Steel Products to perfect and execute the design of the parking structure. To address the client’s request for a structure that emulated the look of existing buildings on the site previously used for steelmaking, structural bracing was relocated to the exterior of the structure to achieve the desired visual effect. Doing so allowed Carl Walker Construction to adjust the rhythm of the structural columns from 40-foot centers to 20-foot centers.


While traditional, wide-flange beams were used in the primary framework, Carl Walker Construction and CMC opted to employ 36" asymmetric cellular beams for the secondary framework of the garage. Each beam was between 56 and 57 feet long, and weighed approximately 73 lbs. per foot. By using cellular beams, it was possible to create structural members that were 1.5 times greater in depth, and significantly stronger than the wide flange beams they were cut from – without any increase to their initial structural weight.


Carl Walker Construction’s Design/Build process made it possible to cost-effectively deliver a parking garage of exceptional quality at an economical price. In addition, Carl Walker Construction’s proven supervision processes ensured the delivery of a quality product to the client. One of the largest parking facilities that Carl Walker Construction has ever constructed, the garage incorporates 5,300 tons of galvanized steel and a fully galvanized steel frame. The parking structure was built in approximately 11 months.


Integration of Green Building Practices

The Sands Casino Resort utilized environmentally friendly concrete for all driving surfaces. All reinforcement material used within the concrete was manufactured from recycled steel.


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