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VOLUME 9 ISSUE 11 csengineermag.com
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csengineermag.com NOVEMBER 2023
THE COVER 8 More than a Game: Sports and Recreation in High Education CHANNELS STRUCTURES & BUILDINGS (PT 1) 12 Playing with Fabric 14 The 2-Year Stadium Construction Project 16 Sports Training Facilities: Creating Successful Environments Focused on High Performance and Athlete Wellbeing 20 Adventures in Renovation: The Historic Courthouse and the Stair and Elevator Tower Conundrum ENVIRONMENTAL & SUSTAINABILITY 23 Leading the Movement in Green Transportation: California High Speed Rail 24 Empowering Sustainability with GPT: Streamlining ESG Initiatives in the AECO Industry SOFTWARE & TECH 26 The Case for Interoperability 28 How AI & Data Can Help Traffic Lights Adjust To Evacuation Traffic Patterns TRANSPORTATION + INFRASTRUCTURE Sponsored by Presto Geosystems 30 A Shared Vision on the Future of Transportation Innovation and Equity 34 Achieving Balance Among Drive-thrus and Walkable Communities 36 Moresby Hall A595 Roadway Embankment Repair Project BUSINESS NEWS 38 4 Essential Steps for Being a Collaborative GC Partner on Your Next Construction Project 40 Keeping Score: Compare What You Bid to What You Did STRUCTURES & BUILDINGS (PT 2) 43 Post-Tension Concrete for Running Tracks 44 Beyond Natural Grass: The Rise of Multi-Sport Synthetic Turf in Modern Facilities departments 6 Events
43 Benchmarks 48 Reader Index
Columns LOOKING BACK, MOVING FORWARD 4 Hanging from the Rafters Luke Carothers INDUSTRY INSIGHTS 5 Navigating the AI Landscape Sara Karstetter
looking back, moving forward
Sports and athletics play a massive role in American culture and society, and this importance is reflected in the space they occupy within the built environment. For as long as humans have grouped together there have been sports and games. Over time, these activities moved towards the core of society, and were elevated into meaningful acts of community, courage, and spirituality. The relationship between sports and society and the resulting reflection on the built environment can be seen time and again throughout history–from the Mayans to the Romans and everywhere between. America’s obsession with sports–both professional and amateur–seems to make sense in the context of this long tradition. In recent history, the proliferation of professional sports has bolstered the grand scale of American sporting infrastructure, but the popularity and ubiquity of amateur sports in every corner of the country is evidence of this shared tradition. From Alaska to Florida and everywhere between, in every city and town–no matter the size it seems–there is a purpose built field or space to house athletic competitions both formal and recreational. Regardless of population or geography there is always a space–baseball or football field, a rodeo or basketball arena, a baseball diamond or running track–to reflect this deeply rooted connection. Although baseball holds the title of America’s pastime and football is the most popular sport in the United States when judged by its ability to draw television viewers, the sport with the most participants, by far, is basketball. This massive gap in participation is in large part due to the position the sport has in the built environment. Unlike baseball or football, basketball is more easily played indoors, and doesn’t require the same maintenance and upkeep of hockey rinks or pools. Thus, for small communities and communities with less access to resources, an indoor basketball court is a good recreational option for the amount of investment required. The sport of basketball was invented in 1891 for just that purpose when Dr. James Naismith–a physical education instructor in Springfield, Massachusetts–set out to create a new indoor game that would entertain and exercise his students through the long winter months. And, although the game we play today bears many glaring differences to the one played on that December day in Massachusetts, basketball quickly grew in popularity. High schools and colleges throughout the region soon began fielding teams, and it wouldn’t be long before the game spread across North American. As more and more communities began to field basketball teams, more and more gyms and fieldhouses began to crop up in communities small and large. Hanging from the Rafters: the AEC Industry and the Game of Basketball Luke Carothers
James Naismith with a basketball and a basket.
In states like Indiana, basketball quickly became a central part of school and community identity. Many towns and cities raced to construct new homes for their basketball teams, seeing it as an opportunity to build a multipurpose space centered around housing spectators for competitions. Places like the Muncie Fieldhouse, which opened in 1928 and was larger than any of the college arenas in the state, were constructed not only in Indiana, but throughout the United States. During this time, the game of basketball transformed into the game we know today, and transformed the way schools and communities build their athletic facilities. Dr. Naismith set out to create a game that would keep his students active during the long winter months, and ended up transforming the built environment of communities throughout the United States as well as the entire world as basketball has grown into a global game. As basketball continues to reign as the most played sport in the United States, it is important to note the influence this has on the AEC industry and the built environment. Similar to other massively popular sports like soccer, basketball carries a very low threshold for investment in terms of participation–a ball, shoes (if necessary), and at least one hoop. On the other side of this, however, is our investment as the creators of the built environment. The AEC industry plays a massive role in shaping both participation and experience when it comes to sports like basketball, and these spaces have come to represent much more than just buildings. They are the centers of community and commerce. They are oftentimes more than places to just compete and practice–becoming places where people young and old can participate in shared experience. Our role as the designers of the world around us is to facilitate this tradition, growing and spreading these experiences to new generations and continuing the long-held human tradition of sports and athletics.
LUKE CAROTHERS is the Editor for Civil + Structural Engineer Media. If you want us to cover your project or want to feature your own article, he can be reached at email@example.com.
AI is a hot topic with numerous applications in AEC, though navigating the options can be overwhelming. AI may be the latest buzzword, but–even though the spooky season has just ended–it doesn’t have to be as scary as it may seem. There were three sessions on AI between Zweig Group’s M&A Next Symposium and its 2023 ElevateAEC Conference this September, and one of them was standing room only. I think the biggest question on everyone’s mind is, “How can I use it?” Well, I have the answer, but you’re not going to like it. “42.” Just kidding. Apologies, my nerd is showing. The real answer is, “However you want.” No really. “If there is something you want AI for, do a search, and you will probably find one!” per Kristin Kautz, an artificial intelligence consultant with Zweig Group. And this is true. The industry has exploded. According to Tracxn Technologies, which tracks startup businesses, as of June, there were approximately 18,563 AI startups in the US, and an estimated (almost) 60,486 in the world as of September. For those of us who have played around with ChatGPT, the technocrats of the symposium dubbed it the “gateway drug” of AI. There are so many possibilities for it, but therein lies the problem. With these new revolutions in technology, we are looking out at an unending sea of possibilities. Where on earth do we start? Navigating the AI landscape By Sara Karstetter
Well, within the world of AEC, there are a number of offerings already relevant to our needs. For example, Microsoft is in beta testing for Copilot, the integrated AI for their Office Suite. Google is working to release Duet, its rival to Copilot. Autodesk has released Forma (formerly Spacemaker) which offers powerful real-time analytics (but is best used for conceptual design at this point). There are even specialized programs, such as Box.ai and Joist.ai, that work with your company’s own documents to help streamline business practices … and on and on. The bottom line is this: There is a lot happening right now, and it is impossible to have a solid grasp on all the available options. That is why we defer to those who are doing this for a living. If you are like me, and want to learn more about how AI can be used specifically in the AEC industry, Zweig Group can help. Zweig Group offers AI Innovation Discovery advisory services that specialize in providing tailored guidance, consulting, and training to AEC firms on how to leverage the potential of AI in their business operations. With the rapid advancement of AI, it is crucial for firms to adopt and manage AI technologies to stay competitive in their respective markets. However, implementing AI and its oversight can be complex and requires careful consideration of the right programs, policies, procedures, and training to ensure successful integration. Zweig Group's AI Innovation Discovery Team has extensive knowledge and experience in both AI and AEC. Click here to learn more .
Sara Karstetter , MBA is a mergers and acquisitions advisor with Zweig Group. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
NOVEMBER 2023 csengineermag.com
events + virtual Events
Minds & Machines: Dominating the Convergence of AI Intelligence and Strategy in AEC November 2-3 – Nashville, TN Zweig Group’s T(AI)SK FORCE will be hosting a two-day symposium to deep dive into AI integration and operations. Our immersive seminars and workshops equip AEC leaders and managers with understanding, insight, and intelligence to identify and act upon AI opportunities within their organizations. We liken AI to a marathon that never ends. No matter if you walk, run, or sprint, this will be your first step to getting in the race. This training provides a high-impact, hands-on learning experience that is designed to help emerging and current leaders be at the forefront of the AI technological revolution. AI is not a trend or fad, it is a fixture. AI is here to stay. https://zweiggroup.com/products/minds-machines This half-day program is the second Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity (SE3) Symposium to be held in conjunction with a national engineering conference since the 2019 NCSEA Summit. The event welcomes engineers of all levels, business owners, human resource managers, and anyone within the AEC industry who is interested in promoting dialogue on engagement and equity in the structural engineering profession. As part of this program, attendees will participate in five separate sessions focused on various aspects of engagement, retention, diversity and inclusion. They will learn about SE3 initiatives and activities, hear from industry panelists on the state of our profession, and acquire practical strategies and best practices for improving retention within their organizations. Look for Zweig Group's Director of Learning and ElevateHER, Shirley Che, as she delivers one of the main stage sessions: ElevateHER, A Path to a More Engaged & Sustainable AEC Workforce. https://www.ncseasummit.com/special-program/ preconferencesymposium2023 2023 SE3 National Symposium: Engagement and Equity in the Structural Engineering Profession NOVEMBER 7 – ANAHEIM, CA
NCSEA Summit NOVEMBER 7-10 – ANAHEIM, CA
Meet the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations in the happiest place on earth to network and learn with the happiest engineers around. Interact with and learn from leaders in the field, curious problem solvers, and expert speakers. Stay current on advancements and best practices in structural engineering and building and design codes—in education sessions and in the Exhibit Hall. Discuss technical, business, and industry challenges—and work toward solutions in a collaborative community. Look for Zweig Group's Kyle Ahern and Shirley Che at their breakout session: A modern day AEC professional's guide to Employee Experience (EX). https://www.ncseasummit.com/ This is the unmissable global event for the lifting industry; almost 100 exhibitors, over 1,500 industry professionals attending, two days of knowledge sharing and training, as well as the celebrated LEEA Awards. The annual event hosted by the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association, the leading global representative body for all those involved in the lifting industry worldwide, is your chance to connect with your customers, meet new clients and do business. The show attracts end users from a wide range of vertical markets, including oil and gas, energy, offshore, road & maritime transport, construction, utilities, rail, renewable energy, civil engineering, entertainment and manufacturing, and more. https://liftex.org/liftex-liverpool-2023 LiftEx 2023 November 21-22 – Liverpool
csengineermag.com NOVEMBER 2023
Sports and Recreation in Higher Education
By Luke Carothers
For more than a century now , sports have been a major part of the landscape in higher education. And, for as long as this relationship has existed, there has been a need to allocate money, space, and infrastructure to the development of on-campus sports and recreation. While conversations about sports and higher education are often focused on varsity athletics, there also exists a need to examine how the relationship between sports and higher education is developing in terms of the general student population. Over the last decade, there has been a push amongst colleges and universities to build increasingly more attractive sports and recreation facilities to serve their students and faculty. With this push, these facilities are continuing to develop a diverse set of sports and recreation opportunities, which presents additional challenges to their design and construction.
College in Claremont, California. The new facility is 95,000-square- feet and supports the Sagehens’ varsity, intramural, and club athletes as well as student physical education classes and fitness and recreation programming for students, faculty, and staff. Notable among the features of the Rains Center at Pomona-Pitzer College is the expansive
Sports and recreation facilities are a major part of the market in higher education, representing a significant draw to prospective students as well as a resource for current students to explore a variety of sports. Tom Jones, Project Executive for C.W. Driver Companies, explains, “any school tour is going to include or end with the recreation center.” In recent years, higher education sports and recreation facilities have evolved to become more robust, including features like rock climbing walls, swimming pools, indoor tracks, sophisticated exercise equipment, hot and cold tubs, and a host of different options depending on where the school is located. In places with access to suitable water, students are able to borrow kayaks and surfboards, which are housed and maintained within these facilities. As higher education sports and recreation facilities have expanded their offerings, the space needed to construct and update them has grown in tandem. According to Jones, building these facilities in limited spaces often presents unique challenges that can be time consuming if they aren’t managed correctly. One firm who has demonstrated a proclivity for opening these sorts of higher education facilities is C.W. Driver, a leading builder in California who has been in operation since 1919. Over the last several years, C.W. Driver has completed several noteworthy projects including recreational facilities for California State Universities Northridge, Long Beach, Cal Poly, Pomona, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, and San Francisco. Jones points out that the activities available at these robust sports and recreation–rock climbing, swimming pools, etc.–provide options that make them valuable assets to colleges and universities. Earlier this year in February, C.W. Driver announced the completion of the Rains Center for Athletics, Recreation, & Wellness at Pomona-Pitzer
NOVEMBER 2023 csengineermag.com
use of glass throughout and multiple outdoor patios. The facade is composed of architectural precast concrete and fiber cement panels while the interior features polished concrete and high-performance finishes. The new facility is replacing the previous structure that was built in 1989 and is 15,000-square-feet larger than its predecessor. While more than half of the rebuilt facility is entirely new construction, other areas of the older structure were incorporated by updating and reconfiguring the interior with the goal of enhancing the building’s usability. One area that remained largely intact was the Voelkel Gym, which houses the men’s and women’s basketball teams. The gym was updated with a new two-court practice and recreational gym above the fitness area. An additional weight room–dedicated to varsity athletics–was added as well as new locker rooms that were “right-sized” to provide enough space for the groups using them. Over recent years, C.W. Driver has gained a reputation for delivering higher education sports and recreation facilities that double as iconic campus structures. Another example is the Student Recreation Center at Cal State Northridge, which features a 40-foot, multi-story climbing wall in the building’s main entrance and circulation area. It incorporates a three-court gymnasium, a multi-activity court, an 18,500-square-foot weight and fitness space, a drop-in childcare room, and a host of other multipurpose spaces as well as a variety of outdoor recreational equipment. Another notable project completed by the team at C.W. Driver is the Lastinger Tennis Center at Chapman University in Orange, California. In need of a new tennis center to reflect Chapman University’s commitment to its student-athletes competing at the NCAA Division III level, they turned to C.W. Driver and their expertise in higher
education facilities. Chapman University’s new Lastinger Tennis Center features seven lighted courts in their cardinal-and-gray colors as well as drinking fountains, expansive shade structures, ample site
lighting, and seating for both spectators and players taking a break during the action. The new facility represents a significant upgrade on Chapman University’s previous tennis facilities. The project was completed with a fast-track schedule and finished while the campus remained fully occupied. Jones notes that the University was eager to complete the facilities and have them open for the next school session, which meant the project moved forward quickly to design the grading followed shortly by the start of the demolition process. With the site prepped for the new facility, design began on the courts, which included the installation of post-tensioned slabs. This was followed by what Jones describes as the “finish work” of the surrounding areas such as the restrooms and venues facilities. Jones says the fast-track schedule allows facilities to be designed in pieces and then built, which avoids a lengthy design process that would eventually be followed by building. Designing and building simultaneously, Jones says, “works out a lot better for the schedule.” This certainly turned out to be the case for the Lastinger Tennis Center, as the project was successful in finishing on time.
From varsity, club, and intramural sports to rock climbing, swimming, and kayaking, the number of activities housed within sports and recreation facilities in higher education will likely continue to expand. The task of accommodating and innovating new facilities to meet these growing needs has fallen squarely on the professionals of the AEC industry. In this regard, firms like C.W. Driver are leading the way in developing new, robust sports and recreation facilities that improve an institution’s standing for prospective students and provide unique benefits to students, faculty, and staff.
LUKE CAROTHERS is the Editor of Civil + Structural Engineer Magazine. If you want us to cover your project or feature an article, he can be reached at lcarothers@ zweiggroup.com.
NOVEMBER 2023 csengineermag.com
Playing with Fabric
Rigid-frame fabric buildings offer a permanent solution for athletic facilities.
By Shannon Humbert, Legacy Building Solutions
Space to Play Web truss structures had another serious limitation in that they were typically supplied only in predetermined sizes. This basically forced organizations into picking the standard offering that most closely matched the dimensions that were actually desired. The price may have been right, but it came along with needing to make certain sacrifices if the structure was oversized or undersized in any way. With a structural steel frame, end users have far more design flexibility. Facilities can always be engineered to the optimal specifications since every project begins with a clean sheet design. In effect, rigid- frame engineering was able to advance tension fabric buildings to a place where a facility can be constructed exactly as desired for its intended uses. There’s no getting around the fact that turf sports like football and soccer take up a lot of space, especially if you want a full-size regulation field. Rigid-frame design allows fabric buildings to have long clear spans without any need for support beams that would interfere with the playing area. For indoor facilities where a track is also needed, it isn’t a problem to go wider and longer with the building dimensions. From an engineering standpoint, brick-and-mortar buildings are obviously structurally sound as well. Where fabric becomes advantageous by comparison, however, is that the cost to clad a building with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fabric walls is much less than constructing masonry walls or using other “conventional” materials.
For many entities , both public and private, the need for an athletics and recreation facility comes down to two options: A permanent brick and mortar building, or a lower-cost fabric bubble. In reality, there is another solution–the modern tension fabric building–that takes the known benefits of fabric cladding and applies them to a permanent facility. Fabric buildings have become increasingly popular in the sports world because of their ability to fulfill the need for large open spaces, in combination with aesthetic appeal, fast delivery times, and relatively modest prices. Universities, communities and clubs alike have recognized fabric facilities as an ideal project fit. Rigid-Frame Design A turning point for fabric buildings came 13 years ago when Legacy Building Solutions first introduced fabric structures that featured a structural steel I-beam frame. Prior to this, tension fabric structures had typically relied upon hollow-tube, web truss framing systems. This innovation allowed fabric buildings to be designed in the same fashion as conventional construction projects. The engineering credibility of this rigid-frame approach was unquestioned, whereas web truss designs had often been viewed as subjective among engineers. With known and proven I-beam frames providing the backbone, buildings using fabric cladding were now in a better position to succeed.
And the larger a building design becomes, the more that price differential is amplified. Optimized for the Sport Court sports like tennis, pickleball, basketball, and volleyball often come with defined guidelines for building peak height and roof slope to allow for the necessary space around the playing surface boundaries. Older style fabric structures commonly featured curved frames that created unusable space near the building’s sidewalls. With I-beam framing, straight sidewalls allow for maximum utilization of the full building footprint. And because all building measurements can be customized from the beginning of the design process, engineers can easily account for specific sports and activities when determining the proper building dimensions. Depending on the facility, support equipment such as scoreboards, video platforms, court dividers, netting, or batting cages could be required. The most efficient use of space often requires these types of items to be suspended from above or affixed to the walls. Likewise, features like fire suppression systems, lighting and HVAC must be accounted for from the very beginning of a project. With an I-beam design, engineers can accommodate any hanging or collateral loads that may need to be supported by the structural frame within the original plans. Interior Environment PVC has been the primary cladding choice for sports facilities for many years because it is more durable than polyethylene (PE) alternatives. Legacy Building Solutions offers a product called ExxoTec™ PVC that delivers a longer life expectancy, due to the added layers of primer and lacquer that surround its high-strength woven fabric. The combination of improved fabric with the rigid-frame structural approach also allows for suppliers to apply appropriate insulation to meet energy codes or individual user requirements. Insulation is secured and protected by a liner, which is actually the same type of PVC used to clad the building exterior. The result is an airtight structure designed for maximum energy efficiency and reduced operating costs. When equipped with the proper HVAC system to control temperatures and humidity levels, these buildings can accommodate any athletic application, from hockey arenas to swimming pools and beyond. The fabric liner also provides aesthetic benefits with a softer feel, better acoustics (especially compared to steel structures), and improved lighting due to the fabric's reflective nature. Players and spectators who step into a fabric sports structure for the first time frequently walk away very impressed with the overall atmosphere inside. It’s worth noting also that PVC fabric comes in a variety of colors, so the interior and exterior could be made to match the colors of a team, organization, school, or community. If additional aesthetic touches are desired, it’s also possible to include a brick façade or other architectural features to the exterior walls.
Fast Construction, Long-Term Value It’s important to examine the construction approach with fabric. I-beam fabric buildings utilize individual fabric panels, rather than a looser one-piece monocover like those seen on fabric structures of the past. Legacy’s patented fabric attachment system uses half-inch diameter bolts to clamp a keder rail to the top flange of the structural steel frame. Fabric panels are then slid through the keder channel to connect to each beam. This process allows fabric panels to be tightly pulled into place at the proper horizontal and vertical tensions. The composition of rigid-frame fabric buildings allows them to be completed much faster than brick-and-mortar and other construction methods. A key reason for the shorter lead time is that companies like Legacy are full-service suppliers that can handle every step of the project from design to manufacturing to installation. This one-stop- shop philosophy also helps ensure higher quality control and avoid unexpected delays from waiting on outside vendors. When considering project timelines, the lower investment to build, and the reduced cost to maintain–while acknowledging that the ideal playing conditions can be readily achieved–it’s easy to see why tension fabric buildings have become a desirable permanent facility solution for athletics and recreation organizations everywhere.
NOVEMBER 2023 csengineermag.com
The 2-Year Stadium Construction Project: A Peek Behind the Fast Delivery of San Diego State University's Snapdragon Stadium
The venue opened on time on September 3, 2022. Pretty fast, as stadium projects go. Credit: Gensler
By Martin Jones, Senior Project Manager, Bowman
It also has the potential to grow to become more than a stadium, with later phases to incorporate mixed-use residential and retail, affordable housing, biking and pedestrian trails, and an innovation district with research, lab, and office space. Several factors came together to make for rapid construction. The pandemic, painful as it was, proved to have one silver lining. Qualcomm was demolished far earlier than originally planned. Crews didn't have to work gingerly around an operational public structure while building a huge structure right next to it. The quickened timeline sped up the process while also providing developers with a much-needed resource: dirt.
When the National Football League's San Diego Chargers moved to Los Angeles in 2017, they left behind Qualcomm Stadium. Once the community decided what to do with the site, little time was wasted. Following a local ballot initiative, San Diego State University (SDSU) took ownership of the site in August 2020. The venue opened on time on September 3, 2022. Pretty fast, as stadium projects go. As site infrastructure design and engineering consultants, Bowman had a significant role in this speedy turnaround. The project plans, led by architectural firm Gensler, called for a fresh build. Qualcomm Stadium, opened in 1967 as San Diego Stadium, would be demolished. The new Snapdragon Stadium at SDSU Mission Valley would be home to SDSU Aztecs football, San Diego Wave FC of the National Women's Soccer League and the San Diego Legion of Major League Rugby. To underscore the significance of this moment, the new venue's big debut would be a nationally televised college football game in September 2022. There was a logistical challenge, as the old stadium would continue operating while the new one was built immediately next to it. While not uncommon, it doesn't make a project go any faster. The project was also meant to address a number of environmental concerns, including periods of severe flooding, as the old stadium was on a floodplain where a creek meets the San Diego River. New construction created the opportunity to put an end to the flooding issues.
The new stadium is home to SDSU Aztecs football, San Diego Wave FC of the NWSL and the San Diego Legion of MLR. Credit: iStock
Design work commenced early, allowing the first shovel to hit the ground four days after SDSU took ownership of the land. Credit: Schmidt Design Group
One of the daunting challenges recognized early on was that some 389,000 cubic yards of soil would be needed to raise the site above the floodplain level prior to construction (for reference, a dump truck typically holds about 10 cubic yards of soil). The former stadium sat on what was akin to a large anthill-like structure, with the stadium in a cone at the top. With Qualcomm out of the way, developers wouldn't have to source their entire infill from afar. They could move it according to the needs on the site. The soil provided by the “anthill” meant only 173,000 cubic yards had to be externally sourced--no small number to be sure, but much more preferable to the total. Creative use of Building Information Modeling (BIM), tools also helped. The classic use case for BIM concerns architecture, particularly on the inside of a structure. For Snapdragon, consultants applied BIM to the exterior and underground area in an obsessively granular manner. This included the existing underground situation: 4,000 support piles and a “spaghetti” of underground pipe-and-wire infrastructure. The crews knew where everything was. Topside, every light pole, tree, and piece of conduit was accounted for. Gathering and inputting all this information called for a lot of upfront work. But it paid off later by avoiding unexpected hiccups and snags– which tend to happen when doing things like moving a 48-inch water main. Designers, engineers, and workers had better information at their fingertips without having to dig into the ground first to get it. Not to be overlooked was the unwavering preparedness of SDSU. University leadership began comprehensive design work early on. When the go-ahead was given via ballot approval, plan development was underway. SDSU took ownership of the site on August 13, 2020. The first shovel went into the ground on August 17.
Later phases of the SDSU Misson Valley master plan include the addition of mixed- use residential and retail, affordable housing, biking and pedestrian trails, research labs and office space. Credit: SDSU
Within its first year, the $310 million, 35,000 capacity multipurpose venue played host to over 130 events, including international and local sporting events, concerts, festivals, championships, community events, and much more. A 34-acre river park with bioretention basins now makes for a natural buffer zone against flooding. Natural features and native vegetation create a new destination to what formerly had been one of the largest parking lots west of the Mississippi River. And the city of San Diego retains a great home for sports.
Martin Jones is a Senior Project Manager at Bowman. Jones was the lead project manager for the company's site infrastructure design and engineering consulting work on the Snapdragon Stadium project.
NOVEMBER 2023 csengineermag.com
University of Washington Performance Center
Sports Training Facilities: Creating Successful Environments Focused on High Performance and Athlete Wellbeing By: Alex Brown, Senior Project Manager, Mortenson and Tamara Hartner, Design Phase Executive, Mortenson
Well-designed and expertly constructed sports training facilities have the power to influence more than just performance. By encompassing an athlete's entire experience—from recruitment, improvement, and overall wellbeing to operations and revenue generation opportunities— sports training facilities continue to evolve into a space where athletes do much more than practice with their team. So what are the critical elements necessary for creating a successful sports training facility focused on high performance and athlete wellbeing? A space's impact on athlete, coach, and staff success is
determined long before the team's first practice drill. Setting the right tone to ensure a meaningful athlete-focused result requires careful consideration throughout the design and construction process. Facility considerations for athlete wellness Sports medicine is a fast-evolving component of the sports training industry that expands beyond traditional training to support holistic athlete development—from the latest injury prevention technology and
Halas Hall includes many wellness and relaxation spaces for the players, coaches, and staff (photo courtesy of the Chicago Bears)
Trends in leveraging media and technology Experienced builders understand how critical it is to engage with athletes, coaches, and staff to ensure success from design through occupancy. At the UW's Softball Performance Center, Mortenson's team toured the coaches and players through design options aided by virtual reality (VR) mockups. Utilizing tools such as VR creates real- time opportunities for athletes to visualize their day-to-day experience in the facility and for coaches to get a sense of operations and player interaction. This exercise effectively supports an informed design and construction decision-making process, ensuring the finished facility exceeds expectations for operational performance. At Arizona State University's new Mullett Arena, Mortenson leveraged an immersive VR experience to drive excitement for the new space, bolstering recruitment and attracting donors to help fund the new arena. With technology's ever-growing demand in sports performance, media- rich environments also define and brand sports facilities. This multi-media experience extends into the athlete's day-to-day life, where utilizing a facility with leading-edge technologies enables athletes to train in highly specialized environments that support individual and team performance. High-profile cameras on the court record an athlete's every move—from body posture while dribbling a ball to the arc on a free throw—while force plates in the floor detect and measure the force athletes exert into the ground. Players can analyze their performance with data-driven insights to fine-tune their training regimens. The one-of-a-kind LeBron James Building at Nike's World Headquarters takes this to another level, where Mortenson constructed four climate-controlled chambers with steel-clad walls capable of studying athletes' physiological responses to exercise under any environmental conditions—including temperature, humidity, radiant heat, and airflow.
recovery treatment to mental health support and nutrition capabilities. Elite sports programs require one-stop-shop facilities that serve a variety of athlete, coaching, and staff desires while remaining flexible in their approaches to evolving needs. For student-athletes, this includes academic support spaces outfitted with tutors, study rooms, and more. To support a state-of-the-art sports medicine hub for athletes, the latest health and wellness components such as cryo pools and chambers, hydrotherapy tubs, hot/cold plunge pools, flotation baths, extremity pools, and hyperbaric recovery rooms are in increasing demand. Gaining insight into the latest equipment ensures design parameters are known well in advance, enabling seamless procurement, installation, and commissioning without impacting the project schedule for a seamless end-user experience. A well-executed facility enhances player performance while remaining cognizant of an athlete's demanding schedule. An example is the design for the University of Washington's (UW) new Basketball Training Operations Facility, where elements draw from past successes at the University of Colorado Boulder's Champions Center (CU Boulder) in anchoring all decision-making around the commitment to best serve student-athletes' physical and mental demands. By co-locating amenities, CU Boulder's student-athletes conveniently practice, weight train, eat, attend meetings, study, lounge, and receive medical treatment within a few yards. Efforts to prioritize the building's interconnectivity save the student-athletes at least 30 minutes per day in travel time. A facility should also include weight training technologies for performance analytics, specialized equipment and furniture, audiovisual/sound systems, branding, and graphics enhancements as well as thoughtful HVAC, lighting, and hygienic elements and upgrades.
NOVEMBER 2023 csengineermag.com
Careful construction and design considerations Athletes require dedicated focus when training and honing their skills. Ensuring no disruption to their experience during construction and into the facility's operational performance is paramount, especially when working on tight, seasonally-based schedule milestones. Disruption avoidance during construction Expanding and/or renovating training and administrative facilities is typically compressed between seasons. When expanding the Chicago Bears' Halas Hall, Mortenson jumped in with the Bears and the design team to optimize the floor plan and minimize disruption during peak pre-season training hours. Close coordination and planning optimize a project's construction phase, allowing sports teams to remain in their existing locker room spaces until those phases are complete. Wherever possible, leveraging fast-track solutions such as prefabrication reduces installation time, enabling the team to meet accelerated schedules and providing an uninterrupted training experience going into the next season. During a tight off-season timeline, a seamless delivery through a proactive procurement and buyout plan is critical for success.
Collaborating with the owner, operator, and design team to develop and advance document sets allows for early procurement of long-lead time items and issuance of work packages. Phased turnover approaches provide coaches, staff, and athletes advanced access to spaces as others are finished. Early enabling renovation and expansion work—including upgrading existing utilities, making significant seismic upgrades, or creating new foundations—can also be phased and structured before facility construction commences. This allows for a compressed schedule and minimizes interruption to existing operations. Mortenson saw success in this approach when executing Penn State's Lasch Football Building addition in the seven-month off-season, allowing the team to depart for their bowl game before beginning demolition work. Design considerations to enhance the athlete experience When athletes train, noise and vibration from simultaneous activities can create disruption. At the University of Minnesota's Athletes Village, Mortenson evaluated stacking scenarios for various program components to develop an understanding of structural and acoustic isolation impacts. Stacking the men's and women's practice courts with a unique split slab system enhanced sound isolation and structural system efficiency compared to previous designs. Earlier iterations
University of Colorado Boulder Champions Center sports medicine and recovery space
University of Washington Softball Performance Center batting and pitching area
included reviewing the courts side-by-side, resulting in double the sound isolation relative to the building's other program spaces, long- span structural steel, and inefficient mechanical systems. Ongoing projects such as UW's Basketball Facility leverage lessons learned and resources from these prior evaluations. Scopes that require extra engineering—such as integrated hydrotherapy pools, force plates, medicine ball walls, and programmable plyometric ramps—demand an understanding of impact at the start of design to ensure correct installation and utilization. Media systems and analytical tools must also account for adaptability as needs change and advance. Integrating the back-of-house infrastructure to support end-use devices during design —such as cameras, televisions, touch panels, and more—prevents limitations during construction. Though technology changes frequently, we can determine the infrastructure to support any equipment before selection. As a family-owned, top-25 builder, Mortenson has ranked among Engineering News-Record's top two sports builders for a decade. Our in-house sports analysts continually feed our well-established internal database populated with collegiate and professional benchmarking to support critical decision-making based on a fundamental understanding of the team's goals and values. We use this knowledge to inform our approach to projects, including the UW Basketball Facility, set to start demolition in early 2024. Throughout our years of building successful projects, we have learned that whether determining strength training
equipment or integrated technology, it is critical to work closely with a project's design team, athletes, coaches, and staff to ensure training facilities are well-equipped to support peak performance and maximize overall athlete wellness.
Alex Brown is a Senior Project Manager at Mortenson with over 12 years of direct sports facility experience. Alex has been instrumental in the success of numerous athletic facility types, from Climate Pledge Arena and Chase Center to training facilities such as the Lasch Football Building. He is passionate about improving the athlete experience, especially through implementing cutting- edge technology that goes into their new spaces. He continually leverages his expertise to provide valuable input to ongoing sports training projects, such as the UW Basketball Operations facility, set to break ground in early 2024. You can reach him by email or phone at 763-287-5236 or Alex.Brown@mortenson.com . Tamara Hartner is a Design Phase Executive at Mortenson in Seattle with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the construction industry and a strong athletic facility background. Tamara is currently leading design phase coordination for the UW Basketball Operations facility, utilizing experience and knowledge gained from her careful execution at Climate Pledge Arena. Tamara leverages her background in Lean processes and target value design methodologies to achieve outstanding value for the client's vision. She plays a key role in procuring women-owned and minority businesses for active projects while serving as an ally and supporter of women, LGTBQIA2S+, and BIPOC in the construction and real estate industries. You can reach her by email or phone at 425-497-7116 or Tamara.Hartner@mortenson.com
NOVEMBER 2023 csengineermag.com
Adventures in Renovation: The Historic Courthouse and the Stair and Elevator Tower Conundrum By: Andrea Righi
The Theodore Levin US Courthouse in Detroit, built in 1934, is a beautiful example of Federal Post Office and Courthouse architecture of the early 20th century. After 80 years of continuous operation the building required significant upgrades to provide tenants with code compliant, state-of-the-art facilities and Class A office space. In 2014, Page began work on a phased modernization project for the 770,000 SF occupied historic courthouse. A building-wide life safety analysis determined that the two existing egress stairs were insufficient to meet the population based on current building codes. To remedy this, the design team was tasked with adding a new egress stair that discharges to the exterior of the building. This element, along with new service and passenger elevators, form a new vertical transportation tower for the building. This article will specifically discuss the tower design process and complexities encountered during construction. What happens when you need to add a new stair and elevator tower to a landlocked historic building? Additions are commonly made to the side of a building, which simplifies the structure and creates one plane where the new interfaces with the existing. In the case of the Theodore Levin US Courthouse, however, the existing building occupies an entire city block and the upper floors are arranged in a “donut” shape with offices and courtrooms surrounding an interior light court. The only option was to figure out a way to route a new stair through the existing building. The solution needed to solve the code compliance issues in a manner
that limited the impact of the stair on the existing building, preserved historic materials, minimized impact on existing circulation, and allowed continuous building operation. Ultimately, a location in the center of the building was selected that allowed a narrow connection to the historic interior courtyard face but otherwise allowed the tower to be an object within the light court. What worked well for the upper floors to minimize disruption became challenging on the interior of the building. A significant number of MEP systems, some active and some abandoned, needed to be demolished and moved out of the footprint of the tower just under the second floor roof. On the first floor, the location meant that the tower would go through the middle of the existing arraignment courtroom. Since the other benefits to this location were so compelling, the US Courts and the General Services Administration determined it was worth moving the courtroom to a new location and relocating the MEP infrastructure to make way for the new structure. The design and construction team worked through the phasing challenges to sequence the work in a manner that coordinated with the project schedule. While the tower program was relatively simple, the structure itself is complex. Early on, it was determined that the new structure could not be connected to the loads of the historic building. The structural engineer of record, Ruby + Associates, designed a completely freestanding 200-ft tall tower with slip connections to the existing structure. New micropiles were drilled to support the tower foundations and massive structural steel columns were set in place to support the tall tower.
Locations of historic elements and existing structure left a very narrow footprint available for the new tower structure within the existing building. Once the tower clears the 2nd floor roof and extends into the light court, the upper floors cantilever over the building and allow a slightly larger floor plate. Here, another unique solution was developed to deal with the construction conditions. On the upper floors, the back span is approximately the length of the cantilever. With the asymmetrical loading of the tower elements, the steel structure was erected out of plumb so that once it was fully assembled and loaded the tower would right itself and become level. Dead loads were recalculated multiple times as the design team worked through various options for the exterior envelope materials to precisely engineer the system. Why is a building in Michigan built to seismic design criteria? Code analysis determined it needed to be designed to meet seismic design criteria per the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The soil conditions, footprint of the tower, wind loads, and materials all figured into the seismic drift calculations. Because the tower is not square, the maximum drift in the north-south direction is different from the east-west direction. With no appreciable movement at its base, the top of the tower is calculated to move up to 5-inches in each direction (which translates to a 10-inch seismic joint). Joint sizes were regularized throughout the building for uniformity and ease of installation. Instead of changing sizes for each floor, nominal 4-inch, 6-inch, and 10-inch joints were specified to minimize the number of products purchased. The tower exterior has a large 10-inch exterior metal joint cover integrated into the exterior façade. The joint cover is a hinged door with magnets that hold the door in place under normal conditions but release during a seismic event. The infill panel was color matched to the adjacent metal panel allowing the joint to completely blend in with the exterior façade. Most of the interior joints were concealed between two walls so exposed cover plates could be minimized. At doors and
other isolated areas, a narrow joint cover with an aluminum or plate was used to blend in with historic metals.
How were materials brought to the site and installed if the building takes up a full city block and is occupied? A critical requirement of the project was to allow the building to remain operational during construction. Page worked with GSA and teams from The Christman Company as the CMc, Jacobs as the CMa and the US Courts to execute a phased renovation project. Impacted tenants and infrastructure had to be cleared out in the footprint of the tower early on to install the structure while the rest of the floor remained operational, including utilities, services, and emergency egress. Most tower elements needed to be lifted from the street over the top of the building and into the project site, including 528 tons of steel (over 1,400 individual pieces). A 275-ton crane with a 340-foot boom was used to hoist materials from street level, 11 stories over the building and into the courtyard. The crane operator communicated with the steelworkers by radio due to lack of visibility into the project site. This work needed to be precise, at times the steel would need to be lowered through a 40 x 60-foot roof opening to be installed inside the existing building. To make it more complex, work with the crane was done primarily at night and off schedule with building operations. While the overall building modernization was done in phases, the tower construction occurred throughout the entire 5 year, 7 phase construction process. It was critical to work closely with manufacturers to specify materials and systems that could be installed with these constraints in mind. Early on limestone or precast were ruled out as the cladding for the tower due to the weight and size of the material. Ultimately, structural steel, insulated metal panels, and a unitized curtain wall system were selected as the most lightweight and practical. Allowing as many items as possible to be fabricated in a shop off-site improved the quality of the overall product. Even with multiple high-wind days that stopped work, these elements saved time and positively impacted the schedule.
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