Lonestar Prestress Responsibly Builds Impressive Headquarters and Plant, Featuring Easi-Set Buildings on a Greenfield Site
Lonestar Prestress Manufacturing Inc. in Bellville, Texas, has been settling into its new 21-acre site after building an 85,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, with four bays up to 700-feet long and a separate 40’ x 100’ headquarters. Lonestar is the premier static cast, prestressed concrete pole and Easi-Set Building producer in the Southwest. The company is one of 14 Easi-Set precast concrete building licensed producers across North America.
For this impressive site, it was only natural that Lonestar would highlight its precast concrete building capabilities by using an Easi-Span Building for the headquarters and including five Easi-Set Buildings within the manufacturing facility. The precast concrete buildings were chosen for their strength, durability and affordability.
“I have never seen an Easi-Span Building used as a headquarters, and I have not seen Easi-Set Buildings incorporated into a structure in such a way,” says Art Miles, president of Easi-Set Worldwide. “It is a stunning facility and very thought out to give Lonestar the space it needs now and room to grow. Lonestar has showcased its manufacturing talents and its thoroughness as engineering professionals, and the quality of this team’s work shows in every aspect of the facilities and the site.”
For 25 years, Lonestar operated in a residential area of Houston that was not conducive for an expanding manufacturing business. Brad B. Boyer, PE, President of Lonestar, had a vision for making Lonestar’s manufacturing process more efficient. About 18 years ago, the Boyer family purchased a 71-acre greenfield site in Bellville on Highway 159, approximately 60 miles outside of Houston. When Boyer knew it was time to utilize this investment, he called on his son, Benjamin Boyer, an engineering student at Texas A&M University, to help with the design. Father and son, pulling from their experience working in multiple areas of Lonestar combined with employee input, rearranged original concept drawings to design a facility that is safe, efficient, environmentally responsible and definitely Texas size.
Boyer says: “We started with a rectangular building that would accommodate roughly twice the manufacturing capacity we currently have. We tried numerous orientations and locations, and then we simply deleted any square footage we could live without but left the earthwork in place. We have the luxury of 71 acres overall, so there are options to build adjacent to the existing buildings in the future.”
The site conditions had to be addressed for stabilization and drainage. John Stiver, P.E., of Stiver Engineering, provided the civil site design. Drainage was accomplished by elevating the building pad 3 feet above the natural grade to allow for sheet flow. The civil design was put to the test during the floods of Hurricane Harvey, when the manufacturing facility was protected and remained fully operational. The select fill was harvested on-site by constructing a 5-acre, L-shaped lake modeled after the company logo. The elevated pad was designed and constructed to accommodate future expansion.
In the facility design, five Easi-Set Buildings were erected within the manufacturing structure to house the supervisor offices, restrooms, breakroom, storage and electrical rooms. The five buildings were erected in two days using a forklift with a boom attachment. Each custom-sized Easi-Set Building has a different finish, including: Easi-Brick imprint, simulated CMU, simulated split face CMU, rubbed and vertical rib.
“When customers visit us to see our capabilities, they also can explore finished products and compare the styles, finishes and options for Easi-Set Buildings,” Boyer says. “Beyond sales assistance, we selected Easi-Set Buildings because they provide a much higher level of protection for our most valuable resources, specifically our employees, during major storms.”
The headquarters is located in a separate 40’ x 100’ x 12’ Easi-Span Building that has two finishes—the lower portion is Florida Ashler stone, and the upper portion is vertical rib. All the concrete buildings are natural gray, unstained concrete. Easi-Span Buildings are the largest clear span all-concrete building system and the only expandable concrete building system on the market. Because of the post-tensioned and pre-stressed roof and floor system, Easi-Span Buildings can be installed in hours depending on their size and site conditions. The prefabricated assembly creates a durable structure that is resistant to weather, temperature, impact and seismic activity. This 4,000-square-foot building installation took only four days.
Lonestar chose an Easi-Span Building because it wanted to display an excellent example of the products it manufactures while experiencing the same benefits its customers have for years.
“Specifically the longevity, durability, speed of construction and no-maintenance aspects of the Easi-Span Building made it a no-brainer when the design team began the plan for the headquarters,” Boyer says. “In addition, the energy efficiency of the high-mass sandwich panel walls paired well with the ultra-high efficiency geothermal HVAC system.”
Flow and efficiency was inherent in the design of the manufacturing area. Each production bay is equipped with two bridge cranes with a 25-foot hook height. The batch plant provided and installed by Voeller Mixers was custom designed to fit within a 50’x 100’ covered bay, adjacent to the enclosed production bay. Concrete is discharged from the mixer directly into the concrete bucket transported by bridge crane. Materials are stored adjacent to casting tables and pole forms for easy access. Indoor finger storage racks for completed building panels have saved time by allowing trucks to be loaded indoors, regardless of outdoor conditions.
Vehicle traffic for both incoming raw materials and outgoing products use a 27-foot-wide loop road with access from both ends of the 21-acre facility site. Employee parking and the office are located inside the loop road to minimize mixing vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Boyer notes, “I have witnessed three trucks—cement, sand and palletized rock—unload near the batch plant simultaneously and not have to wait for others to move out of the way.”
Lonestar’s design team gave priority to being environmentally responsible. Approximately 30 of the 71 acres was disturbed during construction. Design team wildlife biologist Garry L. Stephens, with Wildlife Habitat Federation, created a comprehensive restoration and management plan. The environmental goal of the plan is to provide many ecosystem improvements for the soil, water, air, plants and animals. Native prairie vegetation that once covered Texas was planted to provide shelter and food for the wildlife. The prairie grasses put dramatically more water back into the aquifer than non-native turf grasses. Also with the establishment of the native habitat post-construction, wildlife presence on the site has increased.
The restored native vegetation creates a micro-prairie that contributes to the stormwater management system. This system begins in the manufacturing facility with the settling basin where suspended solids settle out of the wash water. The wash water then makes its way to a secondary settling basin before entering the multi-acre micro-prairie that acts as a final vegetative filter. Storm water from building and paved areas is directed through the vegetative filter for maximum absorption and final suspended solids removal.
To minimize the carbon footprint of the facility, energy efficiency was included in many aspects of the design. A ground-source geothermal HVAC system was implemented using HDPE pipes buried underground to provide cooling in the summer and heating in the winter. LED lighting is utilized throughout the facility to add efficiency and improve working conditions. The entire work area has a minimum of 45-foot candles of computer-controlled lighting with multiple fixtures to reduce shadows. So far, Lonestar has reduced utility costs by nearly half.
The office personnel moved into their new space in October 2017. The production sector moved over an 18-week period as portions of the new facility were completed.
“After 33 years of consulting engineering for other projects, I must admit that starting with a blank page and designing a complete facility from scratch, for our business was fun and rewarding. Henry Ford would be proud of what we have accomplished from a production standpoint,” Boyer says.
Lonestar Prestress Manufacturing, Inc. was founded in 1992 and has established itself as the premier static cast, prestressed concrete pole and Easi-Set Building producer in the Southwest. Lonestar is committed to providing top quality, innovative precast concrete products at a competitive price. To learn more, visit www.lonestarprestress.com, call 800-600-1719 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Easi-Set Worldwide, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Smith Midland Corporation, a public company, licenses the production and sale of Easi-Set products and provides diversification opportunities to the precast industry worldwide. Easi-Set’s pre-engineered buildings are designed to provide durability, convenience and long-lasting security under a variety of applications. These maintenance-free structures are available through licensed precast concrete manufacturers across North America. Each producer manufactures Easi-Set’s Buildings with the patented post-tensioned roof and floor system to guarantee a weatherproof structure. For more information about Easi-Set Worldwide or licensing opportunities, contact Easi-Set by calling 800-547-4045, visiting www.easiset.com or emailing email@example.com.