Meet Kevin Dix, Carpenter

Ryan Jones, Ordway 3/24/14

Building a project like the Ordway’s new concert hall takes hundreds of people working together, each contributing their own skills to the cause. This is our opportunity to say “thank you” to just a few of the many hand-working women and men who are turning this exciting vision into reality.

Kevin Dix has been with McGough Construction for 11 years, working on a variety of projects including hospitals, churches and college facilities. He also worked on the new Guthrie Theater and the Cowles Center. We caught up with Kevin one morning at his “office” inside the McGough construction trailer.

What is your role with this project?

I am a layout carpenter, which means that it’s my job to ensure that everything that is built on site follows the construction plans.
I work with our own crew as well as with the subcontractors, making sure they know where everything goes. I snap a lot of lines, check elevations, and generally relay the information in the plans to the workers. There are three of us doing this particular work, and we interact with virtually everyone on the site.

We’ve just been through a record period of subzero weather. How has that affected your schedule?

We’ve had several days when we just couldn’t work. Concrete suppliers can’t deliver when it’s below a certain temperature. When we do work, it’s important to wear the right clothing. There’s an old saying that “the heat’s in the tools,” which means the best way to stay warm is to just keep working hard.

Does the design of the concert hall pose any special challenges?

We’re not building a square box. There are lots of curves, steps and different elevations. We’re tying into an existing building, which always adds a layer of complexity. The concrete balconies are cantilevered out from the walls, with embedded post tension cables attached to castings at both ends. This allows us to put thousands of pounds of tensile strength on the cables, which provides the necessary support.

What is the most unusual thing you’ve seen while working here?

There’s a gentleman who periodically comes into Rice Park wearing a conductor’s hat and uniform, reading scripture to anybody who happens to be around. That’s pretty unique.

Have you heard stories about the original Ordway construction in the 1980s?

We’ve had a number of retired carpenters who worked on the original Ordway building stop by our trailer with photos of the construction. We also have a few people from that job who are working on the new concert hall. It’s really fun to hear their stories and see the photos.

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