Think of it like a shot clock. When Indianapolis architect American Structurepoint, Inc., Carmel, Indiana, developer and general contractor Lauth Group, and Indianapolis HVAC contractor Engineering Facility Solutions (EFS) teamed up to build the 88,000-square-foot Jonathan Byrd's Fieldhouse at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana, the clock began ticking. At the buzzer, the private ownership team led by entrepreneur Andy Card hoped to host elite youth tournaments.
With strategically chosen materials and creative scheduling, the team hit the goal. The new facility now hosts sporting events, camps, and club teams year-round. Athletes and their guests enjoy eight basketball and volleyball courts, including one NBA regulation-size court; main-level seating for hundreds of spectators and mezzanine seating for 400; a retro-style arcade; and a "concession stand on steroids," according to Card, with traditional staples as well as healthy options. Greenwood-based Jonathan Byrd food catering company became the naming sponsor.
The privately operated fieldhouse sits adjacent to the 400-acre, city-owned Grand Park Sports Campus, one of the largest youth sports venues in the country with fields for baseball, softball, soccer, football, and lacrosse.
Expediting the Schedule
The $8.1 million construction of the fieldhouse began in late May 2015 and the facility opened in January 2016. "The ownership had a grand opening date in mind to coincide with a number of very large athletic competitions and tournaments," said Chris Vensel, Lauth's Director of Pre-Construction Services. "With the spring start and winter finish and over 80,000 square feet of building, it was a challenge."
To expedite the timeline, "We used creative scheduling when it came to the sequencing of foundation, precast panels, steel erection, and interior masonry," he said. "They were staged so we didn't have to go back over areas more than once."
As an added challenge within the tight timeframe, "The building pad needed to be raised almost 5 feet to an elevation that would drain efficiently to the park's existing ponds," Vensel said. "We brought in many thousands of cubic yards of fill to raise the entire site."
To accomplish that feat while maintaining the schedule, "We built an access road 3-and-a-half feet above the existing grade," Vensel explained. "That enabled us to build the pad and start foundations, panels, and steel while crews raised the rest of the site. By the time the building was almost enclosed, we were at the point of burying our road. If we had raised the entire site up, then built a more standard road, then built the building, it would have cost a lot of time."
Speed, Structure, and Protection
The aggressive schedule influenced material choices, including the precast concrete panels on the building's exterior. "Panels were chosen first and foremost due to the quick turnover of the building," Vensel said. "We completed all of the precast work in less than 10 working days."
The panels also met design goals. "We wanted to present a varied and interesting elevation, something greater than what masonry might provide," Vensel said. "These architectural precast panels provided a very nice articulated surface with a lot of variation and a lot of good shadow lines - in addition to being extremely efficient when it came to erecting the building."
American Structurepoint collaborated with their supplier, Coreslab Structures in Indianapolis, to develop three distinct designs with varying reveal patterns. Coreslab interchanged the three templates among 94 panels, each measuring 32 feet tall and 10 inches thick, and shipped them to the site in less than four months.
According to Dan McCloskey, American Structurepoint's Senior Project Architect, the panels provided an all-in-one product. "We were able to use insulated precast panels that allowed for support of the main roof. The entire exterior wall is a load-bearing element that allowed us to omit columns at the perimeter of the building. The panels also include 3-inch thick extruded polyiso insulation. Being able to use that outer wall as structure and thermal protection was a plus."
Inside, the building features concrete block walls to withstand heavy usage. "We originally thought of utilizing some of the concrete block walls on the first floor as load-bearing, but from a speed and efficiency standpoint, it made more sense to build a steel skeleton and then in-fill with the block for abuse-resistance," McCloskey said.
Conditioning Two Extremes
The anticipated use pattern of the expansive interior spaces required creative HVAC solutions. "This facility could have 200 people creating body heat so it needs to be cooled, or an off game day requiring minimal conditioning," McCloskey said.
EFS joined the team in 2014 during the design phase and helped develop the HVAC system to maintain humidity and temperature at a reasonable cost. Ten Trane rooftop units handle heating, cooling, and ventilation. "We also used high-velocity drum louvers to throw air over longer distances so we wouldn't have ductwork running all over the place," said Bill Hinds, Project Manager for EFS. "Ductwork would create shadows or lines and we didn't want to interfere with lines of sight for basketball."
In addition, "We made sure that the equipment isn't directly above a court in case of a leak," McCloskey said. "We didn't want any water penetration into the wood floors."
The front entrance of the building features a separate mechanical system. "It provides an airlock from the outside, but also serves as a signature entry piece to the facility," McCloskey said.
Accommodating Coaches, Spectators, and Athletes
To meet the needs of all the planned tournaments, the facility features multiple entrances. "For some of the larger tournaments, they invite some big-name college coaches," McCloskey explained. "They require a separate entrance, so we had to think from a site-planning standpoint how they get into the building as different from the average spectator. We also designed special seating space that wasn't among the parents."
The design team learned lessons from other fieldhouses. "We looked at some precedent projects where they didn't leave much space between the courts," McCloskey said. "We were able to provide a buffer zone between the courts and these coaches and spectators. It left plenty of room for the free flow of everybody from the center core of concessions, restrooms, and lounge seating out to the courts."
On each court, high-resolution cameras live-stream and record games. "At the end of any game you can go up to the office and buy a copy of that game," McCloskey said. "Few facilities of this size offer that."
St. Vincent Sports Performance joined the facility this year in a 4,000-square-foot tenant build-out. Their staff will offer strength, conditioning, and nutrition services to athletes and the general public, as well as injury care for athletes competing at the fieldhouse.
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