Thompson Project Makes ENR National Best of Best List

A Thompson Engineering project that provides a long-term extension to the life of a Gulf Coast gaming vessel, as well as protection from major storm events, has been named the country’s 2015 “Best of the Best” engineering project for Specialty Construction by Engineering News Record (ENR), the leading engineering industry publication. The IP Casino Dry Dock project in Biloxi, Miss. was selected from a field of 750 project entries, and is one of 20 “Best of the Best” projects profiled in the March 14 issue of the magazine.

Boyd Gaming Corporation, owner of the IP Casino, approached Thompson with the idea of land-basing the casino vessel following the revision of the state law that had required all casinos to float on coastal waters.  “When Boyd’s VP of Construction and Design, Ron Frye, came to us with the concept of dry docking the 20-year-old barge hull in a shipyard type graving dock, we knew we had a unique and exciting engineering design challenge on our hands,” said Henry Seawell, Principal Engineer for Thompson Engineering. “Ultimately, we successfully designed and implemented construction and hydrology elements into the project that had never been done before, and created a stable foundation and graving dock for the 32-million pound IP Casino vessel.” 

Thompson Engineering began work in 2011 to design the IP dry dock, which essentially turned the floating building into a land-based structure without moving it. The project team faced difficult conditions during construction, including tropical events, zero-visibility underwater construction and huge underwater concrete pours. “The collaboration between Thompson, Yates, the construction firm, and our company was nonstop,” said Frye. “We lived and breathed this project 24/7 for three years with the best results we could have achieved.” The IP Casino was never closed to customers during construction.

In addition to being profiled in ENR, the project team will be recognized at an awards ceremony in New York City in April. “This is a huge honor for Thompson Engineering employees,” said Seawell. “To be recognized with some of the largest engineering firms in the country as the best in what we do is a testament to the level of engineering expertise found on the Gulf Coast.” To see photos and read more about this project, click here.

Key Project Partners

  • Owner Boyd Gaming Corporation
  • Lead Design Firm/Structural/Civil Thompson Engineering
  • General Contractor W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Co.
  • MEP Engineer Balfour Design LLC
  • Geology/Hydrology Expert James Conner, PhD, University of South Alabama
  • Concrete Materials Consultant Mr. Herb Gelhardt
Posted on 03/15