Ensuring Your In-Season Stadium Renovation is No Sweat

With the fall collegiate sports season in full swing, stadiums across the country are packed with fans – students, parents, and alumni – cheering for a home team win.

With so much on the line – from pride in alma mater to TV contracts and alumni donations – making sure nothing upends that mix is critical. In that context, upgrading stadiums to better serve fans and players can often take a back seat to the season game schedule. But sometimes, it’s the best option, and for a number of reasons.

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The right design can make the decision to build during the season an easy one. Such was the case for our renovation and expansion of Commonwealth Stadium at the University of Kentucky. The design included a new ring of concession stands, public restrooms and other stadium operations outside the existing ring at the lower and upper concourse. This allowed for construction to occur outside the stadium before and during the season.

Technology helped immensely, with 2-D and 3-D surveys – including 3-D laser scanning – which identified obstructions that could have conflicted with the proposed design.  And while most active construction did not occur on game days, communication about what to expect when coming to the game was critical. Our project team participated in every game day logistics planning meeting to make sure the stadium operations staff understood areas under construction and our staff helped support the event by providing necessary temporary facilities.

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Skanska has developed its Project Corners app for which tracks construction progress and notifies users, preparing them for a day in the vicinity of our projects.

During our first year on the project, we had seven home football games amidst the construction to plan around. One of the most important priorities was to get the TV broadcast compound completed in time for the first season so the SEC Network could utilize the new power and distribution system.

Also critical was prioritizing all premium seating and corresponding amenities. The proposed design of the stadium renovation involved an overall reduction of the stadium seating capacity, moving the student section and many long time season ticket holders. We also demolished the center sections of the stadium lower bowl in order to construct outdoor patio decks over premium club spaces below, re-configured the floor slabs in the old press box, and built new structured decks for the loge seating area.

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We created the Coaches Club, Loft Club and Loge Lounge, each of which leveraged sight lines (or lack thereof) with food and beverage and seating options to create a unique fan experience. Rising above the seating bowl are the upper two stories of the new suite/press tower, which includes the Founders Suite on the 50-yard line, UK athletic director suite and visiting team athletic director suite, with outdoor terraces at each end of this level serving as additional hospitality areas. The second level includes all press and broadcast functions, additional suites and home and visitor coaches’ booths. Capping off the suite/press tower are two camera platforms located on the roof.

In addition to the premium amenities, UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart wanted the player game day experience to be top notch. The east end zone seating was dismantled and rebuilt so a new game day locker room could be built at the field level. The space is supported by coaches’ lockers, training room, equipment room, and media interview room. Above the locker room is the recruiting lounge where, on every game day, future Wildcat Football Players are hosted to banquet-style dining, video walls of highlight reel action of UK greats and access to an in-stadium terrace located next to the marching band and above the student seating section over the home team tunnel to the field.

Doing in-season stadium renovations means balancing sports with construction progress. However, by taking the necessary planning and safety precautions, both in advance and during the game, the project can stay on track and loyal fans can still enjoy cheering their teams on to victory.

Larry Casey

Larry Casey

Larry Casey is a Senior Vice President in charge of the Centers of Excellence, Sales and Marketing, National Account Management and Large Pursuit support for Skanska USA Building.

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WELL Building: The next step in green sports construction

The WELL Building Standard is a new protocol that focuses on human wellness within the built environment. Administered by the International Well Building Institute (IWBI), it identifies specific conditions that when holistically integrated into building architecture and design, enhance the health and well-being of the occupants.  This first of its kind, protocol was developed by Delos in partnership with scientists, architects and thought leaders, and prescribes a series of technology enhancements and performance-based measures that are systemized across seven categories relevant to occupant health in the built environment – Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind.

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WELL Building has been designed to complement green building standards and sit on top of existing platforms. Currently in pilot, the IWBI has partnered with the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), to ensure that WELL Certification compliments and works seamlessly with LEED Certification. For example, air quality and lighting intersect both green and wellness, about 10 to 20 percent of WELL and LEED standards overlap as a result of this natural connection.

While we believe the WELL Building Standard should be considered for every building, we see a unique opportunity for them to be integrated into sports and recreation facilities, inspiring an operator to think holistically about how their facility interacts not only with the natural environment, but also with the athletes, sports fans and staff who will call their building home. In sports terms: it’s a win-win.

For owners the WELL Building Standard offers a twofold opportunity to deliver a competitive venue for their athletes — a facility that is optimized for their performance while also offering event attendees a healthier environment and a connection to well-being and athleticism.

For example, the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas implemented the Stay Well program for hospitality, an overlay program informed by the same evidence-based research as the WELL Building Standard. The MGM Grand saw such a strong return on their initial investment in implementing Stay Well rooms on their fourteenth floor- including high occupancy rates and a 25 percent increase in profitability – that they have quadrupled the number of Stay Well rooms and plan to expand to additional spaces.

Sports play an important role in American culture. We celebrate athleticism as a testament to the power of the human body. Stadiums, arenas and recreation centers are important gathering points for our communities, places where we come together to celebrate physical achievement. As such, these venues represent more than just spaces for sport. The buildings themselves speak loudly about who we are and what we believe in.

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At NRG Stadium in Houston, mechanical and electrical systems are managed via smartphone, increasing energy efficiency.

As an industry, we’ve taken major strides implementing green building techniques in sports and entertainment construction. At first, the industry focused on greening the building enclosure, by reducing energy consumption and implementing resource management. Then, sustainability spread to mechanical, and electrical building systems that use Computer Maintenance Management  Systems to increase efficiency, improve occupant comfort, and can be managed remotely via smart phone technology similar to NRG Stadium in Houston. Another great example of this approach to green building can be seen at the LEED Gold certified Portland State University Academic & Student Recreation Center, where students help power the rec center’s electrical system, through a voltage converter attached to exercise machines  that delivers electricity back to the building.

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Portland State University Academic & Student Recreation Center earned LEED Gold certification through the use of natural lighting and ventilation in key areas as well as quality materials, proven systems, and other cutting edge environmental construction techniques.

Today, sports facilities are increasingly working to green the daily operations of their venues: from implementing more efficient waste management processes – like Gillette Stadium’s waste water treatment plant, to recycling and food service composting and using earth-friendly cleaning products. At MetLife Stadium, all waste kitchen oil is converted to biodiesel fuel; all kitchen scraps are composted, and all cardboard, plastic, glass, aluminum and paper is recycled. The push to green sports facilities has extended to event operations themselves – this year’s Super Bowl at MetLife was the greenest on record, diverting more waste, conserving more water and saving more energy than any previous event.

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MetLife Stadium, home to 2014’s Super Bowl, is one of the greenest sports venues in the U.S.

So, while we continue to push ourselves to find the best ways to build venues that reduce our impact on the earth and its resources, what can we do to make sure these buildings are contributing to the physical well-being of the people within them?

WELL Building is the future of green sports construction – an opportunity for building owners and operators to consider not only the environmental impacts of their facilities but the ways they impact athletes and fans alike.

To learn more about the WELL Building Standard and their impact on occupant health, visit the International Well Building Institute.

This post was written by Tom Tingle, Skanska USA senior vice president and national director, Sports Center of Excellence and Beth Heider, Skanska USA chief sustainability officer.

Tom Tingle

Tom Tingle

Skanska USA senior vice president and national director, Sports and Entertainment Center of Excellence

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Throwback Thursday: Building MetLife Stadium

It’s Throwback Thursday on Constructive Thinking. As we count down the final days until the Super Bowl, we  went back to find some of the videos and images from the construction of MetLife Stadium.

A time-lapse of the construction process:

How do you build a one of a kind stadium?

Here’s a look at how the construction unfolded from 2008-2010:

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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After MetLife Stadium opened its doors, its partnership with Skanska continued

Skanska’s relationship with MetLife Stadium goes back seven years, when our firm first began building the award-winning home of the New York Giants and the New York Jets. Skanska and MetLife Stadium formed a smart, successful and collaborative partnership that allowed us to meet all of the challenges facing the construction of the stadium, which was completed nearly five months ahead of schedule.

Tom and Allison at Metlife 3

Here’s a shot of my daughter and me while MetLife was still being built. We both worked on this project together – she as a cost control intern and myself as a VP -project executive. What a great experience!

The stadium opened in 2010, but once MetLife Stadium was awarded the 2014 Super Bowl, we could anticipate that come four years later, upgrades would need to be made in order to accommodate a sport that is constantly evolving in size, data and technological needs.  Even the newest and most technologically advanced facilities face upgrades and game-specific compliance issues. MetLife Stadium asked Skanska to stay on board to assist in overseeing some additional projects throughout the 2013 season.

Skanska has a long track record in stadium construction. Our company built Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots; Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans; and LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans. But Skanska has an even longer history with the home of the Giants and Jets. In 1974, we performed the steel erection of the old Giants Stadium. Needless to say, we at Skanska are passionate about football!

Nearly three decades later, Skanska built the new MetLife Stadium to be a world-class, state-of-the-art facility. It is also the first facility built to accommodate two National Football League teams. Incorporating innovative methods both in the construction of the facility and in its design, our construction team worked in collaboration with both franchises to cater to two different football teams.

On the construction side, we utilized advanced technology such as building information modeling throughout the planning stages, radio frequency identification for material tracking, as well as prefabrication to ensure completion of the project in the most efficient manner possible. On the design side, generally we incorporate a little team spirit into architectural design through painted logos, but for a venue that hosts multiple teams, our design build team came up with a more innovative method using screens that highlight the colors of the host team playing on the field that day – blue for the Giants and green for the Jets – all by the flick of one switch. Overall, the owners invested more than $80 million in the audio-visual equipment alone, half of that in the large stadium video screens designed to motivate and inspire the hundreds of thousands of fans who enter the stadium each year.

MetLife Stadium received countless construction awards, including the Associated General Contractors of America’s 2011 Build America award and the Design-Build Institute of America’s (New York Tri-State Chapter) Legacy Project of the Year award. As a result of the efficiency and success during the stadium’s construction, it seemed natural for Skanska to stay on the project to help with additional improvements when the need arose.

After turning over the stadium to the MetLife Stadium team, our own Kevin Brightly was asked to stay on board MetLife Stadium’s team to ensure a smooth transition after the construction process. As assistant project manager for MetLife Stadium Facility Operations with a comprehensive knowledge of the facility, Brightly has remained on-site at MetLife Stadium working with their team on continuous capital improvements.

Brightly is part of a small internal team, reporting to the assistant director of engineering while working closely with the stadium’s project manager. His role is quite different from the role he played during the construction process, when he worked alongside dozens of Skanska employees to manage subcontractors and day-to-day construction activities. His experience has helped ensure a seamless transition from the construction phase to facility management phase for MetLife Stadium than it would have been if they had to hire a representative who wasn’t as familiar with the facility.

An arrangement like this benefits Skanska, as well. By working closely with the owner, Brightly, and by extension, Skanska, has gained unique insight into both sides of a vast array of stadium projects that will inform and instruct all of Skanska’s future sports projects.

The ongoing relationship between Skanska and MetLife Stadium is a prime example of the benefits that arise when a facility owner and its construction partner combine their knowledge and expertise of the stadium to increase the efficiency of upgrades. This project serves as a strong model for best practices in making stadium upgrades not just for the Super Bowl, but throughout the season.

Thomas Webb

Thomas Webb

Executive Vice President/General Manager

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How to Build a Stadium that Can Tackle the Big Game

Sports are an integral part of American life and culture. From the frenzy of March Madness to the history of the World Series, nothing brings the nation together like a championship game. And the biggest game of them all is football’s Super Bowl. On February 2nd, the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will face off under the stars at MetLife Stadium, which we built in 2010 and opened five months ahead of schedule! MetLife Stadium is the third Skanska-built stadium to host the Super Bowl: the Georgia Dome hosted in 1994 and 2000 and Houston’s Reliant Park in 2004.

Nearly 85,000 fans will pack MetLife Stadium to witness the biggest spectacle in sports. They’ll cheer from 82,500 seats made of 80 percent recycled cast iron and 20 percent recycled plastic. They’ll watch 2,100 HD monitors and rock out to Bruno Mars with a 2,500-speaker sound system. After drinking their fill of beer, they’ll utilize low-flow toilets and waterless urinals. These are just a few of the behind-the-scenes facts about the way Skanska built MetLife Stadium. Here’s a visual illustration of everything you need to know about the stadium to impress your friends while you watch the game:

Skanska Super Bowl Met Life

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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New England Patriots vs. New York Jets: Skanska Stadium Showdown

Tonight, the New England Patriots will take on the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. This game should be a tremendous showdown for the two storied rivals, which just happen to play in stadiums built by Skanska USA. In anticipation of tonight’s showdown, let’s take a closer look at how Gillette Stadium and MetLife Stadium stacked up during construction.

ette MetLife Green Stadium

Gillette Stadium

Gillette Stadium

The Basics

– Opened in 2002

– Open-air stadium, 16 stories tall

– Seating for 68,756 spectators, including 6,000 club seats and 87 luxury suites

– It’s the largest football stadium in the Mid-American Conference

– The entrance includes a lighthouse (which was originally designed to shoot a light 2 miles high) and a bridge modeled on Boston’s Longfellow Bridge

MetLife Stadium

MetLife Stadium

The Basics

– Opened in 2010

– Open-air stadium

– Seating for 82,500 spectators, including 10,005 club seats and approximately 218 luxury suites – making it one of the largest NFL stadiums in total seating

– The stadium is just over 2 million square feet and covers almost 13.5 acres, enough for 10 football fields

– It’s the only stadium in the U.S. designed to house two professional football teams

– The stadium is distinguished by an outer skin of aluminum louvers and by interior lighting that switches colors depending on which team is playing at home–blue for the Giants and green for the Jets

– Front row 50 yard line seats are 46 feet away from the sideline, which is the shortest distance of all NFL Stadiums

 

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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