Lucas County Arena

Sept. 28, 2010

In northwest Ohio, the transformation of downtown Toledo continues with the construction of the Lucas County Arena, a state-of-the art, multipurpose structure. This $105-million project is the latest step in the county's plan to attract additional sports teams and entertainment to reinvigorate the downtown community.

In northwest Ohio, the transformation of downtown Toledo continues with the construction of the Lucas County Arena, a state-of-the art, multipurpose structure. This $105-million project is the latest step in the county's plan to attract additional sports teams and entertainment to reinvigorate the downtown community.

A year-round source of entertainment, the new arena will be home to minor league hockey and arena football teams, as well as a venue for concerts, shows and other entertainment. Situated on a site near Huron and Superior streets and Jefferson Avenue, the arena will seat 8,000 to 10,000 people, depending on its use, and will include approximately 20 suites and 500 club seats.

The arena is being built near the SeaGate Convention Centre and Fifth Third Field – home of the Class AAA minor league team, the Toledo Mud Hens – providing downtown Toledo with three major attractions within walking distance of each other. Lucas County is one of the only counties in the United States with a convention center, ballpark and indoor arena within such close proximity to one another. These attractions, along with the Valentine Theatre and The Toledo Museum of Art, are expected to draw over 2 million visitors a year to the downtown area.

Taking Shape

Following demolition of a series of old buildings on site, ground was broken for Lucas County Arena on Oct. 1, 2007, and crews began installing 173 caissons to support the structure. Since then, the arena has rapidly taken shape, and a variety of construction operations are proceeding as the project moves toward completion in fall 2009.

Many of the same design and construction team members who worked with Lucas County on Fifth Third Field, a 10,000-seat stadium which opened in 2002, are participating in the Lucas County Arena project. HNTB Architecture Inc., based in Kansas City, MO, serves as architect of record, and leads the architectural team in association with Toledo architects The Collaborative Inc. and Poggemeyer Design Group. The Lathrop Company, the Maumee, OH-firm, in collaboration with Turner Construction Sports, which managed construction of Fifth Third Field, is serving as construction manager for the arena.

“The project team is essentially the same,” says Tim Meyer, project manager for The Lathrop Company, a subsidiary of Turner Construction Co. “We know the other team members very well and they know us very well, so it is definitely a benefit.”

An impressive concrete structure, Lucas County Arena will feature an exterior composed “primarily of brick, stone and block,” says Meyer. “And, of course since Toledo has long been considered the 'Glass Capital of the World,' there is a good bit of curtainwall, too.”

Meyer, a 34-year construction veteran (24 years with The Lathrop Company), says the new arena will fit in well with other downtown structures. “I think the public is going to love the arena,” he says. “It is going to be a very nice facility – it is very architecturally pleasing and aesthetically pleasing.”

The new arena will be a very intimate building with three levels, topped by a TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) roof approximately 80 feet above ground level. “The building will have an event level, which is essentially at grade; then there is the main concourse level, which is about 22 feet up,” says Meyer. “The suite level is up another 20 to 22 feet.” The third floor will feature party decks, and club level seats that will overhang the lower bowl.

Among its many amenities, the arena will include a club-level lounge, a banquet facility and a team merchandise store.

The new downtown Toledo arena - featuring a 900-foot "green wall" that will shade the glass-enclosed main entrance - will be home to minor league hockey and arena football teams, as wll as a venue for concerts, shows and other entertainment. (Rendering courtesy Lucas County Commissioners)'Green Arena'

Lucas County Commissioners and the project team are pursuing the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification – making Lucas County Arena the nation's first new LEED-certified pro sports arena. The arena's signature green design element is a 900-square-foot “green wall” outside of the building, which will feature the use of plant life to help cool the arena during the summer by shading the glass-enclosed main entrance – at the arena's southwest corner at Huron Street and Jefferson Avenue. The green wall also should provide relief for suite and club-seat patrons who congregate in an outdoor plaza above the primary entryway.

Green elements of the project include the light-colored roof membrane that reflects sunlight and underground cisterns collecting rainwater to reuse for landscaping around the facility.

In addition, there will be dual-flush water closets and waterless urinals to reduce water consumption; natural gas fired microturbines, which both generate electricity for use in the building and generate heat that is used by the building's mechanical systems; selection of pavement materials to reduce the “heat island” effect; light fixtures with low energy consumption lamps; and shading devices and exterior glazing selected for control of solarheat gain.

“Also, we are using a construction debris recycling program to minimize the use of landfills, and we are monitoring the content of recycled materials that go into the building,” says Meyer. “Plus, we are using paints, solvents, adhesives, and other products that contain low-VOC content.”

Fast-Paced Project

Lucas County Arena is a challenging, fast-paced project that is being built with approximately 10,000 cubic yards. “Concrete was selected for the main structure because of theschedule,” says Meyer. “We knew it would take longer to get steel, and obviously with concrete you can start working almost right away.”

He adds, “We're following a tough construction schedule – basically building the structure in 21 or 22 months, so one of the biggest keys to this project being done successfully is getting the building enclosed by this winter.”

During a recent visit by Construction Digest, the concrete structure was essentially complete, and ironworkers were busy erecting one of the eight 207-foot-long, clear-span roof trusses that stretch over the arena bowl using a 350-ton Manitowoc 2250 crane, a smaller crane and three aerial lifts. “The trusses are 19 feet tall, so they are big pieces of steel,” Meyer notes.

Because there wasn't enough room inside the bowl to erect an entire truss, steel erectors built the truss in sections adjacent to the arena; then each section was picked up and walked into the arena via a crane. While one crew was setting half of a truss on one end of the arena structure and on a shoring tower in the middle of the bowl, another crew was assembling the other half ofthe truss.

Approximately 130 construction workers are involved with the Lucas County Arena project, according to Meyer. “We will peak at over 200 later this year and early into next year,” he says. “Once the roof is in place, it will open up all the inside work.”

Looking ahead to the first quarter of 2009, several construction operations will be proceeding. “We will be working in a big way on the mechanical and electrical work and building all the interior walls,” says Meyer. “And we will be starting to get into some of the finish trades.”

Meyer says arena construction is proceeding as planned, and the project team has encountered few surprises. “We did have a unique situation during the demolition phase that really turned out well for us,” he says. “Following demolition of the old buildings, we excavated in most areas 10 to 12 feet down and took out the demolition debris in the basements. Instead of just backfilling with basic material, we used 304 stone. As a result, we have engineered fill to backfill all of the excavation work because it is already here, and we have a phenomenal base for the whole job to work on. It has made us much less weather-dependent.”

The construction workforce is typically on-site five days, with occasional work on the other two days of the week. “The job is not set up for everybody to work six or seven days a week,” says Meyer. “As a group, we truly believe that if you want a successful project and really want to make the schedule, most of that schedule is won or lost up front. So, we are doing what it takes to keep the project on schedule up front, rather than piling on at the end to get done as occurs on a lot of jobs. Those jobs are usually difficult and not assuccessful.”

Coordination & Cooperation

For The Lathrop Company, project executive Doug Martin and Meyer are guiding the construction management operations for the arena. Lathrop's team includes Kevin Machcinski, senior project engineer; John Long, Ron Sheely and Pat Eckelberry, project engineers; Joe Zunk, general superintendent; Jim Parish Jr. and Kenny Miller, field superintendents; Kevin Kerner, MEP superintendent; Kim Fasnacht, safety manager; Tom Paci, vice president – manager preconstruction services, Turner Construction Sports; Gary Kayne, preconstruction coordinator; and Carolyn Ignasiak, administrative assistant. Roosevelt Gant of R Gant, LLC is also part of the construction management team, primarily responsible for MBE participation andcompliance.

Coordination and cooperation are critical to the success of the project, especially since the new structure is being built on a very tight site. “We don't have places on site for contractors to put a bunch of trailers, and deliveries really have to be coordinated,” Meyer says.

To coordinate the arena construction, the project team communicates daily with each other and formally on a weekly basis. “We have meetings with our contractors once a week, and we also have meetings with the design professionals and the owners once a week,” Meyer says.

To promote a high safety standard during construction of the project, Lucas County Commissioners and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) entered into a partnership. That agreement, part of OSHA's strategic partnership program, provides job safety training and other hazard-reduction initiatives for the project.

Project Participants

The Lathrop Company is joined on the Lucas County Arena project by a host of subcontractors and suppliers, including Todd Alspaugh & Associates Inc., Toledo – earthwork and utilities; Art Iron Inc., Toledo – miscellaneous metal work; Assemblers Inc., Pinckney, MI – precast erection; S.A. Comunale, Fremont, OH – fire protection; Dimech Services Inc., Toledo – plumbing and HVAC: Henry Gurtzweiler Inc., Toledo – steel erection; Miller Brothers Construction, Archbold, OH – site work; Mosser Construction Inc., Fremont, OH – masonry and cast-in-place concrete; OCP Contractors, Holland, OH – finishes; Pace Industrial Inc., Edmonton, AB, Canada – ice floor systems; Rohrscheib Sons Caissons Inc., New Hudson, MI – caissons; Romanoff Electric, Toledo – electrical; Schindler Elevator Corp., Holland – elevators; SPS Corp., Fort Wayne, IN – metal siding; Steel Supply & Engineering, Grand Rapids, MI – structural steel; Stress-Con Industries Inc., Shelby Township, MI – precast concrete; Toledo Mirror & Glass Co., Toledo – glass and glazing; and Wolfe's Roofing, Oregon, OH – roofing.

Kuhlman Corp., Maumee, supplied concrete for the caissons. All Ohio Ready Mix, Swanton, OH, supplied concrete for the arena structure.

Lucas County has contracted with a worldwide leader in venue management, SMG, to manage the new arena.