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Tsurumi Pump Helps Bring Arts Building to Life in Massachusetts

ORLEANS, MA — Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, it has been no surprise that performing arts have taken a backseat in global priorities. But with the help of Tsurumi Pump, a new arts center in New England has managed to take shape and overcome the challenges the pandemic has inflicted on new construction and arts proliferation.

If everything goes as planned, the coastal community of Orleans, Massachusetts, will have a new performing arts facility in July 2021, when the building is scheduled for completion. By then, the Arts Empowering Life Foundation (AEL) plans to open its 17,000-square-foot facility to help both seasoned artists and youngsters learn and prepare for performances. Tsurumi’s donation of five portable contractor’s pumps has played a role in making it all possible.

The project began in mid-2018 when the nonprofit submitted plans for its innovative Performing Arts Building (PAB) at the eastern edge of Cape Cod. Using an army of volunteers and professionals who mostly donated their services, the aim was to create a building that would serve the arts while providing a connection with the environment.

“We conceived a design that incorporated innovative green techniques, aesthetics, and a custom-designed space,” said Gail Gibson, Head of Development for the AEL project. “However, there was a problem — the land that was donated for the project sits in between two wetlands, with the ocean on another side. It really is almost an island.”

Unsurprisingly then, the soil in the area is highly hydric. So, when contractors prepared to break ground in June 2019, they quickly realized they would need to dewater the area before any concrete could be poured.

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“That’s when our volunteers set out to find a company that could donate some pumps,” Gibson said. “We have a wonderful department called Gifts and Kind, with people that are always busy looking for what our builders need, to see what we can have donated, and they contacted Tsurumi.”

Tsurumi immediately donated three HS2.4S submersible pumps, plus eight 50-foot discharge hoses with fittings that arrived just as the building’s foundations were being dug. Standing in a compact 10 by 13 inch footprint and designed for heavy-duty drainage work, the HS2.4S was the ideal solution. Being a side-discharge trash pump with a built-in shaft mounted agitator for suspending solids, it transfers everything from spring water to sand and slurry at up to 53 gallons per minute. Its semi-vortex impeller, double mechanical seal, and oil lifter ensure reliability, with its motor enabling it to run continuously.

The pumps have been consistently dewatering the soil on which the PAB was erected ever since. The sub-sea-level foundations and footers were poured in December 2019, and the pumps relocated to a crawl space. One will remain permanently in place in the lowest part of the basement to remove and recycle groundwater. An additional two HS2.4S pumps donated in January 2021 are being used to prevent the rainwater that cascades over the unfinished flat roof from pooling around the building.

“The contractor told us, ‘We have no complaints. They’ve been pumping 24/7 without a problem so we can get our jobs done,’” Gibson said. “The Tsurumi pumps have been essential and completely reliable gifts, allowing us to keep the foundation dry, filter and send the groundwater to a swale from where it returns to the nearby wetlands, as well as create a beautiful koi pond.”

Before the land was donated, it was a vineyard. “We physically moved the vines to reclaim this space," Gibson said. "As the Tsurumi headquarters website says, ‘If you’re passionate about something you will make it happen.’ I was just so struck when I read that — here we are with this tiny project, and then I go to the Tsurumi website, and I’m blown away with its global reach. Its staff have been great to work with and helped us meet a very specific need we had.”

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Designed so that almost every inch can be used purely for rehearsals, the two-story PAB comprises four rehearsal rooms, with the three on the first floor being capable of forming one larger room when required; a second-floor balcony overlooking the largest rehearsal space for instructors to observe movement; a conference room/kitchenette for meetings and small catered meals; a solarium/greenhouse; an entry way with two-story water feature; and a truck bay for easier loading and unloading of instruments and theater sets.

In keeping with the vision for this building, respecting and protecting the surrounding beauty of Cape Cod was also crucial and called for the implementation of many green features. The roof is therefore covered with solar panels which, coupled with a wind turbine, are anticipated to fulfill the energy needs of the building, which will also provide electric charging stations for hybrid cars. Thermally efficient walls and responsible material selection further enhance its environmental credentials, while all rainwater runoffs will collect in rain gardens to help irrigate the native plants and herbal remedies that will be grown.

“Most of the project was carried out during a worldwide pandemic that caused the performing arts to take a step back,” Gibson said. “But Arts Empowering Life has taken a step forward, knowing for certain that the arts are important and will remain a formative and restorative part of our culture.”

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