Tarlton Garners AGC of Missouri 2020 Keystone Award


Tarlton Corp. won a top 2020 Construction Keystone Award from the Associated General Contractors of Missouri for rebuilding the century-old stage and renovating production areas for The Muny, America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater.

The Tarlton team was among 13 honored from a competitive field of 38 project submittals ranging from health care, education and sports/entertainment facilities to railroad, road and bridge, utility, and lock and dam projects. The awards were presented Oct. 29 at a hybrid live-virtual event, during which the AGC also honored Tarlton’s Robert P. Elsperman, former longtime chairman of the firm, posthumously with a Heritage Award.

Tarlton received first place in the General Contractor/Construction Manager/Prime Contractor Building Construction for projects ranging from $10 million to $30 million. The firm, which provided preconstruction services and served as construction manager, began the first phase of construction at the end of The Muny’s centennial summer season in 2018, and the renovations made their debut at the start of The Muny’s 2019 performance season. The project involved four years of intense planning and design – plus 50 design, construction, theatrical, horticultural and landscaping firms – to bring it to fruition. Project architect was H3 architects, New York City.

Work at the iconic St. Louis institution continues, and Tarlton recently was selected for The Muny’s Second Century backstage and office renovations project, with CORE10 Architecture serving as project architect.

The stage and production improvements encompassed dramatic structural and design changes, including a new revolving stage platform to replace a turntable installed in 1930. Other upgrades included tracks to move scenery and five lifts to bring materials and actors to the stage from below. Two towers flank each side of the stage and hold the latest technologies in theater lighting and sound. They house dressing rooms, a prop room, electrical and sound systems, cooling fans and air ducts that distribute air more evenly throughout the theater for greater patron comfort. 

A new 42-ton, overhead light bridge of structural steel with an integrated walkway replaced the older cable light bridge system and provides infinite capabilities for lighting configurations. New LED lighting was added to the existing lighting system, and LED screens were added to enhance stage settings.

In addition, Tarlton brought the orchestra “under cover,” creating a new, expanded climate-controlled orchestra pit under the stage that still allows the musicians to be visible to Muny-goers but provides better protection from the outdoor elements. The team built a full basement and installed new electrical and mechanical systems, new elevators, restrooms, locker rooms and general storage spaces.

Tarlton coordinated the equipment and manpower needed to reintroduce new trees to the area behind the stage. In an innovative approach to environmental responsibility, The Muny worked with experts to select and plant trees in 1,500 individual soil cells across 4,000 square feet to provide for ample root growth. The new trees are an aesthetic nod to the two original, nearly 300-year-old oak trees that had long flanked the stage but had to be removed due to their advanced biological decline.

Tarlton’s project team included Joe Scarfino, vice president and project executive; Travis Aly, senior project engineer; Kevin Oakley, preconstruction; Josh Bunjan, project manager for concrete; Chad Hartman, project superintendent; Joe Fredrick, concrete superintendent; and Cindy Cerentano, cost engineer.

“Recognition by the AGC of Missouri is one of the highest honors a general contractor can receive,” said Tracy Hart, president, Tarlton Corp. “We are proud of the skill, teamwork and spirit of the Tarlton team on the exciting renovations to The Muny.” 

About the Associated General Contractors of Missouri

The AGC of Missouri Keystone Award competition began in 1998 and recognizes contractors who meet and successfully resolve challenges on construction projects through innovative methods and ingenuity. The AGC of Missouri is the united voice of the construction industry, representing over 500 commercial, industrial, heavy and highway contractors, industry partners and related firms in 110 counties in Missouri. It is affiliated with several national organizations, including the Associated General Contractors of America.

About The Muny

“The Muny” is the nation’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater. The popular amphitheater seats 11,000 people with approximately 1,500 free seats available. The Muny produces all of its musicals, offering seven productions that run seasonally from mid-June to mid-August. It is the largest outdoor theater to host Broadway-style musical theater and has a history of hosting top performers from theater, TV, film and stage. The Muny launched its first-ever public fundraising effort, “Second Century Capital Campaign,” to raise $100 million for capital improvements and ongoing maintenance of its 11.5-acre campus in Forest Park.

About Tarlton

Tarlton Corp. is a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise that provides outstanding preconstruction and construction solutions to clients in the government and non-profit, health care, life science, higher education, commercial, power and industrial markets. In business since 1946, the Midwest general contractor/construction manager also has special expertise in concrete construction, restoration and maintenance. Tarlton has completed many landmark St. Louis projects and is committed to improving lives through inclusive construction, civic engagement and service to others.

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