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By the time the Freedom Tower is constructed and topped off in 2011, many American companies will have had a hand in erecting this symbol of spirit, pride and resilience.

The significance of their contribution won’t be lost on one of those companies, Regal Industrial of Donora, Pa. The company is applying a Sherwin-Williams protective coating system to a wide variety of auxiliary steel pieces that are being used in the construction of the centerpiece of the development under way at the site of the former World Trade Center.

”It means a lot to us,” says Paul Sasko of his company’s contribution to the Freedom Tower. “Obviously there’s a lot of attention on this project and we’re very proud to have a part in it.

“I also like the fact that here we are, in little Donora, Pa., and we have the ability to perform and get this steel coated and shipped to New York City for as important a project as this is. It says something about us.”

Design evolution

The highest of these buildings will be the Freedom Tower, with 82 occupied floors, floor space measuring 2.6 million square feet and reaching a height, at the peak of the antenna spire, of 1,776 feet. Upon completion, it will be the third tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere.

By the end of the project, Regal Industrial will have finished 2,000 tons of fabricated steel pieces of roughly 500 lbs. each, along with various channel T’s and angles, along with some bigger pieces as the project progresses. As of Fall 2008, the company said it had completed about 10 percent of the total it expects to finish.

The steel is fabricated at Selco Mfg. in West Caldwell, N.J., before transport to Regal, where applicators led by shop manager Kinsley Newton are applying a three-coat Sherwin-Williams system that starts with a prime coat of Zinc Clad III HS Organic Epoxy Primer. A coat of Macropoxy 646 Fast Cure Epoxy serves as an intermediate coat, followed by a top coat of Acrolon 218 HS Polyurethane.

This won’t be the only Sherwin-Williams protective system applied to Freedom Tower steel. Three columns, fabricated and finished by Banker Steel of Lynchburg, Va., were erected in 2006 in a Finish for Freedomsymbolic ceremony that kicked off the symbolic rebirth of the site. But the finish coat of DuraPlate 235 Multi-Purpose Epoxy may have been hard to see on two of the columns. One was covered with the signatures of families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Another was signed by some 13,000 residents of Lynchburg.

For Regal, the project measures in the slightly-higher-than-average volume category. A five-mile coal conveyor for which the company is presently finishing steel will easily double the volume of the Freedom Tower project. But for the Sasko brothers — Jim, Paul and Dave — who run the company their father Paul founded, the Freedom Tower holds a special place.

“We’ve always had our niche, whether it’s piping or some other kind of heavy industrial work,” says Paul Sasko. “But it’s pretty neat to be doing work for the Freedom Tower.”

Adds Chet McPhatter, chief operating officer for Banker Steel, “We are proud to be part of the rebuilding at Ground Zero.”

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