UAA Wells Fargo Sports Complex Renewal

UAA Wells Fargo Sports Complex Renewal

Start Date: March 3, 2015
Completion Date: October 6, 2016
Owner: University of Alaska Anchorage
Location: Anchorage, AK
Architects: Livingston Slone
Project Manager: David Sterling
Project Superintendent: Ken Parmenter
Project Engineer: Derek Dilley
Site Safety Manager: Kirk Waggoner

As one might expect when remodeling a structure from the 1970s, some spaces posed rather complex design challenges. Kristin Reynolds, the lead UAA Project Manager on the job, was proud of how the design team and contractors worked around these difficulties. “It’s much more complex in the construction phase to do a remodel like this than it is to build a new building, when you can just say how big you want it,” Reynolds said. “It’s a little bit more engaging and it’s more challenging.”

The UAA hockey program was not included at the UAA Alaska Airlines Center build- but the extra space generated by teams leaving the WFSC created a real opportunity to carve out new space for the team and give them a first rate recruiting tool.  A beautiful new player lounge, physical therapy area and therapy baths (both hot and cold), along with a well ventilated and fanned locker room will provide just what the team needs moving forward.

The UAA Wells Fargo Sports Complex (WFSC) work consisted of: Replacing the existing ice plant and ice rink; replacing the existing air handler unit; fire alarm system upgrades; electrical system upgrades; remodel of interior offices, locker rooms, and fitness spaces.

Upon award, we set out ordering long lead and specialty items, such as the new air handler units, ice rink dasher boards and ice plant.  The sequencing of a remodeling project is paramount to a successful project.  Our Project Manager and Superintendent performed flawlessly at UAA. Keeping the old ice intact to access the high ceiling areas was key to finishing on time.  The new LED light installation, ceiling paint, and fire alarm/sprinkler upgrades would have been nearly impossible over bare pipes or new ice.

No one knew what was going to happen when the existing ice refrigeration system was turned off.  There was no prior history or knowledge of how long it would take, if it would pool at the center or drain under the old dasher boards.  We prepped for a deluge, bringing in pumps and mops expecting a worst case scenario…. It went better than anyone imagined.  Over the course of 10 days, it melted in one direction, towards a lovely floor drain.

How do you spread 113 brailer bags of premium white Illinois quartz sand to a depth of 2 ½” over ice rink pipes that can’t be damaged?  Our shop manager knew that a small conveyor belt was available at one of the local rental companies- so we went for it.  We laid rigid foam between the 4” on center pipes and then covered the pipes and foam with a sheet of plywood. This “runway” allowed our forklift to carry in the brailer bags full of sand and the conveyor performed a rough spread before our crew did the final rake.

Heavy haul challenges, low bridge truss challenges and access issues were combated at every turn. Our logistics crew moved the 50,000 pound Central Ice Plant load a little slower than a normal weight load and deflated tires at bridges to make it across.  We demolished a little hole 24’ up the side of the gym so that we could dismantle 2 gigantic air handlers, move them into place and then re-build them.  Hard, not really- just all in a days’ work.

The Triple Constraint of Quality, Schedule and Budget was always at the forefront of our mind.  We delivered on each, providing for completion of the upper level of the sports complex to open by the first day of classes, Aug. 24, 2015 while the lower level hockey area opened on September 14, 2015. Despite the lower level remaining closed through Sept. 14, the project’s timing couldn’t have worked out much better for students says Piccard, “The timing was done about as perfectly as it could.”