DALLAS - This month, Snips looks at the new American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and Dallas Stars hockey team.

DALLAS - They say everything is bigger in the Lone Star State, and sheet metal contractor Lewis & Lambert is no stranger to large, showcase projects.

You may remember the company as featured on the cover of the February 2000 issue of Snips for its work on the $65 million, 2,000-plus seat Bass Performance Hall in Dallas.

This month, we are able to show some of the work performed for another public entertainment venue, this time the new American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and Dallas Stars hockey team, the latter opening the 2001-02 season in their new home on September 15. More than 1 million bricks, enough to pave a 1 mile, 2-lane road, were used in the building's exterior fa¿e.

Mechanical contractor was employee-owned TDIndustries, headquartered in Houston. Supervisor for this project was Dave Youden, with Dave Smith supervising the sheet metal installation. Also no stranger to big jobs, in 2000 TDIndustries had revenues of approximately $205 million and averaged around 1,400 employees. It was founded in 1946 and is one of the nation's largest mechanical contractors.

According to Clay Witcher of SMACNA member Lewis and Lambert Inc., some 250,000 lbs. of 96- and 100-in. doublewall spiral duct went into the construction of this massive arena, which features towering rotundas, terrazzo floors and state-of-the-art technology.

"We pre-built the duct and stored it on our site in 50 foot trailers so it would be ready when it was needed," Witcher said. "It was a good size job for us, taking about three months." The job site was only about 35 miles from the fabrication point.

One piece of equipment used that made the installation go a lot smoother was Gripple wire hangers from Duro Dyne. These allow even large pipe to be raised and hung relatively easily. An installer can cinch the wire hangers up and have the ductwork safe and secure in minutes.

Lewis and Lambert produced its own 3x3x1/4 in. companion flanges for the ductwork, and produced it on a single 6-foot Iowa Precision coil line.

The Center seats 20,000, with every seat boasting clear sight lines. Designed by world-renowned architect David M. Schwarz and Dallas-based HKS, Inc., American Airlines Center is described as "a combination of traditional architecture and hi-tech wizardry. Outside, the signature arches are warm and inviting. Inside, some unusual retractable seating brings the bowl in closer to the action, allowing fans a more intimate experience."

One of the building's unusual features is a Dr. Pepper Bottling Plant on the Terrace Level (fourth floor), in an alcohol-free zone that takes younger fans and kids-at-heart back to an old-fashioned soda shop and soda bottling plant.

Sports fans will no doubt be enthralled by the eight-sided, 80,000-pound scoreboard, in typical Texas lingo termed "the largest and best in the country." There are 37 concession stands at American Airlines Center.

Lewis and Lambert's own 70,000-sq.-ft. fabrication shop (shown above) produces 6 million pounds of sheet metal products per year, including a complete range of spiral products, along with elbows, reducers, taps and fittings. The 36-year-old company has about 200 employees. It is a fabricator, installer and manufacturer, having re-entered the spiral duct business in 1999 shortly after the company's purchase by O'Flaherty Holdings Inc. and Alfred Leidner. It developed its own self-dealing duct system and is also a member of the Spiral Duct Manufacturers Association (SPIDA).

TD Industries produced its own rectangular duct for this project.