C&D Recycling Plant Being Built at Former Ft. Devens in MA

Fast-developing former military base is site of $9-million, 90,000-square-foot facility
August 11, 2010

One of the largest plants in the U.S. for recycling construction and demolition debris is being built at the former Fort Devens military base in north central Massachusetts.

Bufftree Building Co. Inc. of New Bedford, Mass., is the general contractor for the Devens Recycling Center, a $9-million, 91,000-square-foot building undergoing rapid construction. Located in the West Rail Industrial Park of the Devens Regional Enterprise Zone, the pre-engineered metal structure consists of a 475-foot-long main building with a clear span of 160 feet, an attached two-story office space and a train shed for a railroad spur.

The spur track, under construction by subcontractor Maine Track Maintenance Co. of Portland, extends roughly 3,000 feet to join with a Boston and Maine line of the Guilford Rail System. Railroad cars will deliver the bulk of some 1,500 tons of brick, concrete, steel, wood, asphalt, carpet, and gypsum construction and demolition (C&D) debris to be processed each day at the plant. Trucks will also deliver C&D debris. Much of the plant's processed materials are destined for marketing as recycled products.

According to MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development authority, building projects in Massachusetts generate nearly 5 million tons of construction and demolition waste annually. Of this, Massachusetts incinerates 43 percent, landfills 19 percent and recycles the remaining 38 percent. The new recycling center supports new regulations that prohibit disposal of construction and demolition materials in Bay State landfills and require developers to recycle more than 75 percent of C&D materials associated with an individual project.

The design team for the Devens facility includes architect Rescom Architectural, Inc. of Bourne, Mass.; Pare Corporation of Lincoln, R.I., the structural foundation designer for the plant and the recycling equipment; civil engineer ESS Group of Wellesley, Mass.; and GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. of Norwood, Mass., the geotechnical engineering firm.

Bufftree broke ground for the project in November 2006. Powell Stone and Gravel of Lunenburg, Mass., is performing the earthmoving for the 11-acre site, which is owned by W.K. Macnamara Corporation of Waltham, Mass. As soon as the site was prepared, subcontractor Glavin Construction of Billerica, Mass., began forming and placing concrete for the building's footings and foundation walls. By January, steel was rising at the site.

"Those two subs really pushed the project, so that we beat the deep freeze that came in January," said Bufftree project superintendent Bruce Hanna. "It's because of their efforts, their professionalism and ability to staff the job adequately that we were able to start erecting steel when we did."

Weymouth, Mass.-based Barnes Buildings and Management Group Inc. is erecting the main frames, roof and siding of the facility, a prefabricated metal structure manufactured by Ceco Building Systems of Columbus, Miss. Main frames, which provide a 160-foot clear span and 54-foot floor-to-center-ridge clearance, resemble segmental arches and are spaced 25 feet on center. They are raised in two pieces by two cranes that hold the structural elements in place while ironworkers tie them together.

Commenting on the dimensions of the building, Bufftree's Tony DiGiantommaso, project manager, said, "At this stage, the most impressive aspect is the sheer size. The recycling facility will be one and one-half times the size of a football field in length by a football field wide ..."

The contractor expects the facility to be open in July 2007.

Devens Recycling Center is the latest project in the non-stop construction taking place at the former military base. At present, Devens Regional Enterprise Zone — or simply Devens — is home for more than 80 businesses employing approximately 4,200. Created by statute in 1993 to support business growth and attract economic development opportunities in the region, Devens allows fast-track building permitting and other incentives for businesses and is said to be a national model for military base redevelopment.

Camp Devens was established in 1917 on about 5,000 acres purchased from private owners in surrounding towns, and renamed Fort Devens in 1932. The installation trained and processed millions of men and women through five wars — World Wars I and II, Korean War, Vietnam War — and most recently, Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

While no longer a full military installation, Devens still has a military presence that co-exists harmoniously with the civilian redevelopment taking place there. The Base Realignment and Closure Commission reassigned it in 1996 as Devens Reserve Forces Training Area to provide training and support for all military services, reserve and active.


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