Blue Valley School Project Collaboration

Jessica Ledger-Kalen, owner of Royale Concrete, and Mike Denny, owner of Artistic Concrete Surfaces (ACS), joined forces when faced with an outstanding, yet challenging, opportunity that exceeded either of their individual capacities. Together, they not only completed the project on time and on budget, but also their high-quality workmanship delighted their client and yielded a 2016 Polished Concrete award from the Concrete Promotional Group of Kansas City.

“Our goal at Royale Concrete is to only accept jobs for which we are 100% confident we can deliver outstanding quality and service. The more I got to know Mike, the more I could tell that ACS was grounded with that same foundation,” Ledger-Kalen said.

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The Blue Valley School District’s design and specifications spanned three separate schools with different needs, tough standards, multiple general contractors, and a tight timeline. The Royale Concrete/ACS Construction team worked closely with the architect to find a way to achieve the results while building a relationship with both the architect and the school system to manage expectations for future projects. The team also worked with Husqvarna on their specifications to get all parties on the same page.

Working Together

The team began with bush hammer tooling in an attempt to expose large aggregate quicker per the customer’s preference for a consistent large aggregate exposure on all floors. The craftsmen were actually testing this tooling (which wasn’t officially on the market yet) for Husqvarna to develop best practices of achieving consistent large aggregate most efficiently. The craftsmen then progressed in metal grinding steps, transitional tooling, and finally polished the floors to a 3,000-grit finish. The floors being remodeled had been poured across multiple decades.

They were never poured with the intent of polishing. Because the flooring represented different types of concrete and presented inconsistently with different degrees of porosity and unique characteristics, it was a challenge to produce a uniform result across all of the surface areas.

Several tight obstructions also made it difficult to expose large aggregate in all areas. The craftsmen addressed the challenging floors by using GM3000, filled joints with Versaflex SL 75, and used Versaflex-tinted Quickmender to fill small repairs. They also accomplished cementitious repair using Rapid Set Tru. Corner and edge polishing was extensive given the many doors, angles and obstructions in each school. In one of the schools alone, 5,000 linear feet of hand-polished edgework was completed.

Collaboration wasn’t always easy, both parties admit, but the trick, Ledger-Kalen explained, was that both teams had a clear understanding from the start about roles and responsibilities. The companies pooled resources to procure materials to get the best deals and dispatched employees on a schedule that enabled both companies to continue running other smaller individual projects simultaneously.

“We acted as one company,” Ledger-Kalen explained. “There was never a feeling of competition, quite the opposite in fact. We deployed workers, ordered materials, tracked expenses and divided profits as one entity from the start. Not only did we accomplish more by working together, we also learned a lot from one another. Our employees enjoyed working together and we truly feel that both companies have been strengthened by this effort.”

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