Trends Summer 2018 | Page 8

FALCON CENTER FACTS “We started the first phase of the project on July 25, 2014, which included artificial turf on the football stadium field. We held our first game on the new field on October 4, 2014,” Thum said. “Less than three months.” The overall project was: MULTI-TASKING TO SUCCESS • The largest in the history of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls • In the planning stages for more than 20 years • Funded with state dollars, student fees, and donations • A three-year construction effort that affected nearly every athletic program at the university The building design included: • 2,500-seat basketball arena • 12,000-square-foot auxiliary gymnasium • 15 new team locker rooms • 10,000 square feet of new athletic department offices • 3,000 square feet of classrooms • An active-learning classroom and a 2,800-square-foot health and human performance lab • 9,000 square feet of fitness, strength, and cardio training areas • Indoor rock and boulder climbing walls • Food concessions area and a catering kitchen capable of serving large special events Athletic field site work included: • An artificial turf football field and drainage base system • An irrigated varsity soccer field with seating for 400 spectators • Varsity track and field event venues • A practice field to accommodate multiple events • A varsity softball field with seating for 400 spectators Other site work included: • 720-stall parking lot and 30-stall parking lot adjacent to the building, including accommodations for pay station shelters, bus circulation, and service and delivery needs • Two access driveways and a service driveway • Sanitary sewer and water main extensions and service • Stormwater collection system and stormwater treatment, including bioswales in the parking lot • Landscaping, including screening of adjacent residential areas • Traffic study to identify access and egress routes and circulation patterns • Evaluation of pedestrian circulation patterns 8│ TRENDS What made scheduling more complex was that so many activities had to be completed at the same time to keep the overall project moving forward as planned: construct a new driveway to connect the project site to a City street, begin parking lot construction, install underground utilities in the athletic field areas, prepare a building pad and site work for maintenance and storage buildings. The second phase of construction began in September 2014. “The challenge of the Phase 2 site construction was complicated by the requirement to get users and visitors to existing venues (areas of the facility) that were required to remain operational throughout the construction,” Thum said. “The site work and the building construction were equally complex in that we always had to provide users of the space access to the facilities but still be able to make progress in the construction.” The new addition would literally wrap portions of existing facilities, requiring removal of walls and intense interior remodeling. One area, Smith Stadium, had to be available during the football season. Another area, Hunt Arena, had to be available for hockey practice and games. Knowles Fieldhouse had to be available for indoor track meets and physical education classes. There were times, remembers UW-RF Campus Planner Dale Braun, when activity on site made him a little nervous. For example, the contractor – Miron Construction – removed the east wall of the Hunt Arena ice arena to allow for remodeling and construction just four months before the start of the hockey season. “I thought, ‘Oh man. What if something goes wrong and delays this project? This is our only ice.’ But they did it,” Braun said. “They finished that arena in time to accommodate the hockey team practices.” The second portion of the project had seven construction phases, Braun said, and timing was everything. “We took it a piece at a time so we could literally wrap the old buildings with the new one,” he said. “It was day by day – and it worked.”