University of Hawaii
ching turf install

Construction Zone July 2021: Retrofits

July 1, 2021
University of Hawaii rushes to retrofit campus football facility

Aloha to Aloha Stadium

The University of Hawaii is rushing to retrofit a football field on campus at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Complex so that it can be used for the university’s home football games this fall.

The urgent push for a new venue began late last year when the university’s longtime football home, Aloha Stadium, was shut down indefinitely. The Aloha Stadium Authority, a state agency, has decided to tear down the facility in advance of plans to build a new stadium as part of an entertainment district.

The $8.3 million project will add seating and increase capacity at Ching Field to up to 10,000 in time for the Sept. 4 home game. The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors team has six home games scheduled in 2021.

The university has played its home football games at Aloha Stadium since 1975 and was caught off guard when the stadium authority decided to cancel future events.

“Although this was completely unexpected even six months ago, our team has risen to the challenge and we are seeing lots of excitement about playing Rainbow Warrior football on campus," says University President David Lassner.

The university says that in addition to increasing capacity, the retrofit project will create hospitality suites to generate revenue, add six press boxes, and improve electrical and telecommunications systems to support the press and instant replay,

Other features added to Ching Field: field goal netting, scoreboard and game clocks, new concession capacity, and temporary bathroom facilities.

The university is likely to have Ching Field as its football home for at least a few years. The stadium authority has decided to tear down Aloha Stadium before construction of a new venue commences. Demolition is likely to take place in the latter months of 2022.

By pursuing an earlier timeline for demolition, the stadium authority says it will be able to provide the university and Ching Field "with much-needed equipment and supplies that would otherwise have remained at the existing stadium."

Demolition clears way for STEAM complex

The University of St.Thomas in ST. Paul, Minn., has torn down the 127-year-old Loras Hall to clear the way for construction of a facility dedicated to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM).

Construction of the $100 million STEAM complex is expected to begin in spring 2022 with a targeted opening date of fall 2024 opening.

The university Board of Trustees’ Physical Facilities Committee has approved the design concepts for the 130,000-square-foot complex, which would be the university’s first new academic building since McNeely Hall in 2006.

The designs combine high bay engineering areas, art galleries, music performance spaces and several open spaces meant to facilitate collaboration between departments that would otherwise rarely interact.

Plans also call for giving local K-12 schools access to community spaces through STEM and music partnerships.

“The proposed STEAM complex will meet critical university, societal and community needs, including increasing diversity in STEAM fields and promoting sustainability,” says St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan.

Loras Hall was built in 1894 as housing on the former St. Paul Seminary campus. The University of St. Thomas acquired the building in 1982; most recently it housed music department offices, administrative offices, an employee credit union and worship spaces. The St. Paul city council voted earlier this year to allow the university to proceed with demolition.

Georgia Tech unveils renovated ballpark

Georgia Tech has completed the second phase of renovations of the baseball park on its Atlanta campus.

The university says Phase II of renovation consists of $10 million in improvements to the facility, which has been renamed Mac Nease Baseball Park at Russ Chandler Stadium.

The highlight of the Phase II renovation is a climate-controlled training facility that will be used year-round by Georgia Tech student-athletes, as well as alumni and professional baseball players during the off-season.

The training area includes a 2,000-square-foot pitching and hitting lab and 5,000-square-foot batting tunnel. The pitching and hitting lab has motion capture cameras, tracking systems and floor pressure plates that can record and analyze data for each player in real time.

Another key component of the improvements is Champions Hall, a two-story multipurpose gathering space created on the expanded concourse. It celebrates the history of Georgia Tech Baseball, highlighting conference championships and trips to the College World Series.

Champions Hall provides premium chairback seating and a spacious event room that looks out onto the field during games. Champions Hall also will serve as a meeting space for the baseball team and an event space for other organizations and alumni gatherings.

The architect is Populous, in association with Collins Cooper Carusi.

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Tobacco warehouse reimagined

The University of Kentucky College of Design has unveiled plans to convert a century-old tobacco warehouse in Lexington into a learning space for design students.

The university says the Studio Gang design firm, based in Chicago, in collaboration with Louisville-based architect of record K. Norman Berry Associates, will transform the Reynolds Building into a modern space.

The Reynolds Building, situated at one of the most prominent entries into the city of Lexington, will become a 21st-century facility that teaches students about architecture, interiors, historic preservation, landscape architecture, urban design, product design and biomedical engineering.

"At a time when it is essential to conserve resources and decarbonize, the work of reinventing existing buildings to serve new purposes has never been more critical," says Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang founding partner. "The Reynolds project demonstrates this idea, and takes it beyond environmental necessity, showing how re-use can also be a satisfying, creative act of design and making."

The design builds on Reynolds' existing qualities, including open floor plates and a repetitive structural grid, to maximize interaction among people and disciplines and expand opportunities for making and experimentation.

Open studio spaces leverage the timber column grid to flexibly demarcate each studio, reinforced by mobile pin-up walls and custom furniture designed and fabricated by students.

Existing level changes in the building are used to create clerestories, skylights, and a flexible, double-height lecture hall. In certain areas, the existing structure is strategically cut away to create new gathering spaces, sightlines, abundant daylight and vertical circulation.

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