When Nebraska observes its sesquicentennial in 2017, Scott and Heidi Haynes will have good reason to celebrate. The owners of Dreamscapes Inc., the Hayneses installed more than 20,000 square feet of pavers as part of the renovation of Lincoln’s Centennial Mall – and earned themselves recognition from Hardscape North America (HNA) in the process.
Their award-winning project, for Concrete Paver – Commercial – More than 15,000 square feet, took the better part of two years to complete and offered plenty of challenges thanks to its location between the Nebraska Capitol building and the University of Nebraska campus in downtown Lincoln.
The mall, which runs for five city blocks, was originally constructed in honor of the state’s 1967 centennial. Heidi says the $9.6 million project, which was paid for with donated funds, was a renovation of the space.
“It had gotten a little old,” she says. “There had been some fountains there and it had just reached a point where it needed revamping.”
The biggest portion of Dreamscape’s part of the project involves an approximately 8,000-square-foot map of Nebraska located in front of a state building.
“There are several different colors that represent the different Indian tribes in the state and where they were located,” Heidi explains. “We also engraved that part of the project. We engraved the path of the transcontinental railroad, we engraved the locations of the rivers, and then all of the county seats have bronze pins that are drilled into the pavers.”
Additionally, there are fountains along the Missouri River portion of the map, with each representing a campsite of the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
Heidi says engraving the pavers was a major undertaking for the company. The pavers used for the map measure 12 inches by 12 inches, and the scope of work was drawn out on grid paper laid out by computer, then executed manually.
“They had to lie on their stomachs to do the engraving,” she says of her crew. “The newspaper has photos of them lying on beanbags on the ground. We bought camping canopies for them to work under because it was hot when they were doing the work and they were on concrete out in the sun.”
The engraving alone took 45 days, after which the engraved areas were stained using exterior concrete stains and an airbrush.
Dreamscapes also had a hand in the area in front of the Capitol, although not as extensive a one as the Nebraska map. The centerpiece of that spot is a seal of the state, done in pieces of etched granite.
“It has fountains around it, and then we put in pavers for the seating area,” Heidi says. “Those were a completely different type of paver; big, charcoal-colored pavers.”
The company also participated in the installation of two other plazas as the project moved north toward the university.
“One is Imagination Plaza, and one is Innovation Plaza, and they represent the different tribes and regions of the state,” she says. “Each is marked differently and done with different pavers. There are also walkways and fountains. Every area has fountains.”
All of the pavers were custom-made by Haynes’ main supplier, Pavestone. Heidi gives a lot of the credit for that part of the project to her longtime collaborators, Linda Potter at Reimers Kaufman Concrete Block in Lincoln, and Tracy Yungers, her Kansas City-based Pavestone rep.
“There aren’t a lot of women in our industry, so it’s nice to have lady relationships when you’re ordering,” she says. “You spend a lot of time together evaluating samples and checking on trucks and manufacturing and making sure the base is coming when it should. It’s a lot of work.”
Heidi calls the job a legacy project, and says besides winning the HNA award, she’s most proud of what Dreamscapes has done for her city and state.
“I tell my kids — they’re 17 and 15 now — they can bring their children down here and say, ‘Grandma and Grandpa did this,’” she says. “You can go to the top of the Capitol building and there’s an observatory up there, and it’s just awesome to look down and know Scott and I did that.”
However, the job was not without challenges. Possibly the biggest was simply working in a downtown environment — and only part of it was dealing with constant questions from visitors and people who work in the area who were endlessly curious about what they were doing.
“A lot of it was just logistics,” Heidi says. “We had 25 semi orders of bricks down there that had to be unloaded; that’s always a challenge. Simply getting the trucks in there was a challenge. And, of course, there are all the other subs we worked with. They’re in the same boat, but everyone tries to work well together, and that part was great.”
Fortunately, she adds, there was space to stage once the trucks were unloaded, and since the company had done a smaller job on the mall years ago, Heidi was confident they could handle this one.
The other challenge was simply scheduling the work. Not only does Dreamscapes run a single crew under Scott’s direction, but the work was sporadic. Heidi says an area might take three or four weeks to complete, but then the paver installation would be shut down while other subs – particularly the companies installing the plumbing for the fountains and the lighting – did their work.
The answer to such a schedule, Heidi says she didn’t bid much other work over the last two summers, choosing instead to focus on a job that ultimately earned the company approximately $350,000.
“I knew the Centennial Mall was my focus, and we planned accordingly,” she says. “It’s been the only time I’ve turned away work during our 27 years in business. I didn’t like the feeling, but I didn’t feel like lying to people, telling them we’d get to them and then eight months later they’re wondering where we are.”
Fortunately, she says many people were willing to wait to do their projects, and with others, she referred them to other installers in the area.
“Basically, I learned to be ahead of the game, whether it was scheduling other jobs, or making sure the materials and the trucks could come in appropriately,” she says. “I stayed ahead of the game and it went pretty smoothly.”