Heaven’s foundation poured
STOCKTON — Heaven’s foundation was poured Tuesday in southeast Stockton.
The 116-foot-diameter round mat slab of concrete is enough to support a high-rise building, but at 74 feet, 11 inches above ground when completed, the structure technically will qualify as a mid-rise.
When it’s done in a decade or so — hopefully sooner — “Heaven” will reign over the grounds of the Wat Dharmararam Buddhist Temple complex off Carpenter Road in southeast Stockton.
It is the dream of Buddhist monk Kong Tith and has been in the development and planning stages for more than a decade. A formal groundbreaking was held in March 2011 that included local government officials and members of the regional Cambodian community.
Since then, progress on the massive undertaking has been slow as the temple raises funds and obtains permits and approvals allowing construction of the one-of-a-kind project to move forward.
Tuesday was a “happy day” for Tith and his fellow monks as they gathered around the construction site to witness up to 140 cement mixers deliver about 10 yards each, dumping their loads into two pump trucks that sent a continuous mixture of cement, sand, gravel and water through a long series of aerial pipes to reach the foundation.
The construction site was buzzing with approximately 30 laborers, cement finishers and rod busters trying to keep up with the deliveries.
By the end of the day, the cement mixers, mostly from A&A Concrete, delivered 1,400 yards of cement, filling in a rebar-reinforced hole 3 feet 6 inches deep. Two batch plants in Stockton and Tracy were kept busy refilling the trucks.
The end result will be a 1,100square-foot concrete slab weighing an estimated 322,000 pounds, according to general contractor Don Gordon with Mag General Engineering Inc. of Wilton.
“A mat slab (foundation) is not unique, but the design of this building is very unique. It will be like a pyramid covered in statues weighing 100 to 250 pounds each, with an elevator in the middle to get to the top floor,” Gordon said.
The statues, all to be created by Tith, will surround a grand staircase to the top floor.
“It’s the path to heaven,” Tith said. As construction progresses, Tith envisions one floor housing a school for children, another serving as a museum and a third providing space for a library.
“On top will be a school for everybody’s education,” Tith said. “Any person in the nation can come and meditate on the top floor. Any problem they have, they can come meditate and come study the law and religion and learn how to understand each other.
“We want everybody to be happy and enjoy the place — clear your mind and be peaceful.”
Concrete workers lay the massive foundation Tuesday for Heaven, a unique structure that will someday rise five stories above the grounds of the Wat Dharmararam Buddhist Temple off Carpenter Road in southeast Stockton.
General contractor Daniel Gordon with Mag General Engineering Inc. of Wilton, left, talks with Buddhist monk Kong Tith and head monk Kuch Pum, who holds a drawing of Heaven as the foundation is poured on what is expected to be a 10-year project.