“To stay competitive for bowl games and college football, there needs to be a certain number of seats and a mix of premium options,” says Brent Daubach, with SC Advisors of Orlando, who oversees the project for the city of Orlando and Florida Citrus Sports, a main stadium tenant and partner. “Stadiums that we compete against had more variety of seating.”
The city of Orlando and Florida Citrus Sports have worked together for 75 years, adds Matt Repchak, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for Florida Citrus Sports.
“We are actively looking at new ways to expand the partnership and increase programming in the building,” Repchak says. “We work together to improve the facility and improve the quality of life of community residents and visitors.”
This renovation will complete an upgrade planned in 2007, as part of a $1.1 billion Venues initiative between the city and Orange County to fund a performing arts center, a basketball arena, and a renovation of the stadium. The funds did not allow for the completion of all upgrades to the stadium, built in 1936.
“Florida Citrus Sports had the forethought to make provisions in what we were constructing in 2014 for potential add-ons in the future,” Daubach says. “Some of the infrastructure for this project was added in 2014.”
HNTB, with a sports design team in Kansas City, Missouri, and local office in Lake Mary designed both renovations.
The current project adds premium and general admission seating and suites; expands restrooms, concession spaces, and corridors; and upgrades parking. The area’s Tourist Development Tax funded the project.
Barton Malow’s Orlando office received the construction contract. The firm partnered with local and minority and/or women-owned businesses: Collage, JCB Construction, C2 Advisors and Provisions. The city set a 24 percent minority-participation goal, which Barton Malow is exceeding. The company has unbundled large packages into smaller contracts to successfully achieve this goal.
Barton Malow engaged early in design reviews and value engineering, working closely with HNTB personnel.
“The collaboration with HNTB, SC Advisors and the ownership group has contributed to the success of the project,” says Logan Crutchfield, Project Manager for Barton Malow.
Barton Malow has extensive sports facility experience. The company made its rookie appearance in the sports construction market back in the 1930s and has completed more than 225 athletic facilities since. Among these include the redevelopment of Daytona International Speedway and a new Major League Soccer home for the Orlando City team, which sits a few blocks from Camping World Stadium.
Several team members and subcontractors recently worked together on the soccer stadium and a number of other sports facilities. There was a minimal learning curve with this group. “We have assembled a team that can pull this off,” Daubach says.
Crews from Barton Malow laser scanned and performed a point cloud survey of the existing structure to learn exactly where utilities, concrete and steel were located. That information was built into a building information model and improved collaboration with trade partners by uncovering potential issues before they happened.
“Barton Malow has done a great job on the front end and planning,” Daubach says.
“The logistics that had to go into construction of this level, while in a building still being operated, was extremely challenging,” Daubach says. “It was a very surgical process for the demolition and installation of this level.”
Further complicating matters, the existing building has two structures, one from a 1990s addition and another from the 2014 reconstruction, which crews had to structurally keep separate.
Demolition of the old seating began in January 2021. Barton Malow created a team to assist with the complicated removal of the old seats and precast, including the engineering firm Walter P. Moore and Northstar Contracting Group, both with offices in Orlando. Superior Rigging & Erecting of Orlando served as the rigging partner.
“It was a unique piece of the project that required careful planning,” Crutchfield recalls.
Crews used a 300-foot-tall luffing jib crane with a customized, cantilevered, double spreader bar to balance the existing precast and lift it and the old seats up and over the top of the stadium. The crane had a counterweight system that allowed the operator to reach under the top level of seating. That work took place 35 times on each side of the stadium, 70 times during a three-week period.
“Every time it happened it was pretty intensive,” says Daubach, adding that it went faster as time went on. For example, during the first week, crews removed 10 sections; the next week, 25 were taken out, and the last 35 were lifted away in a few days.
Crews raised and slid the structural members into place using mini crawler spider cranes and tugger hoists positioned on the 200 level to lift the new steel into place. Skids, like huge dollies, helped people move the steel around.
“They were articulating cranes that could crawl under the beams and lift tons of steel but sit on a concourse,” Daubach explains.
The team has completed steel erection and the concrete pours.
Much of the parking has been on the grass and had deteriorated over the years. The current project removed unsuitable soil, regraded to improve drainage and placed new sod, with plans to add signage, fencing, and lighting.
Barton Malow used drone surveys to monitor progress and to measure elevations of dirt and assess for any damage after storms.
“On a weekly, biweekly, and monthly basis, we knew how much progress had been made,” Daubach says.
Barton Malow also takes 3-D photos to document progress weekly. The ownership group can verify aspects of the project hidden behind final finishes.
With planning, Barton Malow used hurricane-proof engineered walls to isolate the construction areas from fans. All materials are rollable and able to be stored when fans are in the stands.
“When set for an event, the impact is minimal,” Crutchfield says. “We use some branding to show fans what is coming, but primarily, it is used to make sure the general population is safe.”
Substantial completion is scheduled for December 2021. The project remains on schedule and Daubach says he is “proud of how much we have accomplished in seven to 10 months.”
Crutchfield attributes that success to teamwork.
“The project team and trade partners have done a tremendous job while maintaining an aggressive schedule and an extremely complicated renovation project,” Crutchfield concludes. “It makes for some challenges, but it is also rewarding. The partnership with the owners, tenants, architects, and engineers has also played a major role in where we are today.”