Architectural Team Named For New Omaha Ballpark

by Tom Hale | September 28, 2010

Three architectural firms have been selected to design the new baseball stadium in downtown Omaha, NE, that will house the College World Series. Led by Omaha-based HDR Inc. as the architect and engineer of record, the team also includes nationally recognized ballpark designers HOK Sport as design architect and DLR Group as associate architect.

The team will work closely with the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA) to refine the ballpark’s final design. The $140-million ballpark will include 24,000 seats and 28 luxury suites; an open, 360-degree walk-around concourse; five team clubhouses; practice facilities; and administrative offices.

MECA will also oversee design and construction of the ballpark, which is expected to break ground this fall. It is scheduled to open in April 2010.

In June, Omaha and the NCAA announced a 25-year agreement with the city of Omaha that begins in 2011, the first year the World Series is scheduled to be played in the new stadium.

New Correctional Facility Completed

An early August ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the completion of the new Chillicothe, MO, Correctional Center. The new center replaces an old, 525-bed institution, which had been used as a youth facility or a prison for more than 100 years. The new prison will hold more than 1,600 offenders, increasing women’s bed capacity by 1,111 beds.

According to Missouri officials, the design of the new Chillicothe prison incorporates several energy-saving technologies such as an improved boiler system, better HVAC controls and more efficient light. The prison will operate at lower energy cost than any other prison in the state. The prison also includes important safety features like a perimeter road and 21st century design with adequate sight-lines for corrections officers to maintain a safe environment within the prison walls.

JE Dunn Construction Co., Kansas City, MO, served as the general contractor for the project.

Nebraska Announces CDBG Funding

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman has announced $5.1 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for projects in 35 communities across the state. The funding will be distributed among four categories to help with new investment and infrastructure projects, primarily in Nebraska’s rural communities.

Grants are distributed as part of the state’s annual allocation of CDBG funding from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.

Fort Leonard Wood Construction

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says Veterans Enterprises Technology Services, LLC, has been awarded a $19.1-million, firm fixed price contract for designing and building dining facilities at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. Construction is expected to be completed by July 31, 2010.

Hotel Renovations

The state of Iowa will help a large affordable housing property in Cedar Rapids recover from recent floods. The Iowa Finance Authority’s board of directors approved a loan of up to $5 million to refurbish The Roosevelt, a multifamily housing property at 200 1st Ave. NE. Sherman Associates, LLC, Minneapolis, will acquire the building and oversee renovations. The Roosevelt is currently uninhabitable.

Officials expect The Roosevelt to reopen sometime in late summer 2008 after substantial renovations, including replacement of electrical service components and systems in the basement; replacement of mechanical systems in the basement; elevator repairs; complete demolition of first floor walls and ceilings; complete demolition of the basement; and reconstruction of first floor common areas and electrical space. Additionally, all the units in the building will be updated and remodeled.

'Surging Prices’

“Surging prices for diesel fuel, asphalt, steel, and other materials are clobbering construction budgets,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for The Associated General Contractors of America. He was commenting on a recent producer price index (PPI) reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The PPI for inputs to construction industries – materials used in all types of construction plus items consumed by contractors, such as diesel fuel – surged 10.4 percent over the past 12 months. The index for highway and street construction leaped 18.9 percent.

Simonson noted that in the first two weeks of July, asphalt prices jumped by 40 percent in several parts of the country.