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Bases Loaded for Spring Opening of SunTrust Park

SunTrust Park is built in record speed for MLB team.

Wed January 18, 2017 - Southeast Edition
Cindy Riley

The bases are loaded as crews in Atlanta rally to complete one of the fastest construction delivery schedules in Major League Baseball history. Work on SunTrust Park, the new Braves stadium, is entering the final stretch.

The cost of the new stadium, parking and related infrastructure is estimated to be more than $670 million. The Braves will be a significant investor, along with Cobb County, and also will cover all cost overruns for the construction of the stadium.

"Construction is currently running around the clock. This strategic approach allows us to schedule different types of work and various tradespeople for work in all dayparts," said Chris Britton, project director of American Builders 2017, a joint venture between Brasfield & Gorrie, Mortenson Construction, Barton Malow Company and New South Construction Company.

Crews have been putting in long hours to ensure the project, which includes a multi-use development, will be ready to welcome fans and visitors on baseball's opening day in early April.

"Some work can be performed more efficiently during daylight hours rather than at night. By coordinating our trades in this manner, we are able to maintain an efficient flow of construction to meet the demanding schedule."

Britton said construction at the ballpark has been transitioning from a heavy structural focus to the completion of spaces for turnover to the client.

"This work currently includes rough-in and trim-out of MEP materials, bringing major equipment online, seating and railings installation, concession buildout, food services installation, construction of suites, installation of millwork and soft finishes, playing field construction, and exterior hardscaping. Additionally, we are conducting final inspections and punch-out tasks for administrative offices, locker rooms, operations, training spaces and clubhouse areas."

According to Britton, the project has not been without its share of challenges.

"The site has limited space for delivery and laydown of materials. For this reason, just-in-time deliveries have been important for our operations. We are not just constructing a ballpark, we are also building the elements that will support this entire development.

"While completion of the ballpark is one aspect of the project, we are also constructing three parking decks and an elaborate entrance plaza, including road infrastructure, and finishing the hardscape and landscape elements surrounding the ballpark in conjunction with the Comcast building, OMNI hotel and surrounding residential and retail areas that will make up this development. Coordinating schedules and work with the other ongoing construction projects can be challenging."

Britton said that opting for a hybrid structural system of concrete and steel has played a key role.

"Concrete is more readily available than steel. Reinforcing steel can be procured much quicker than complex structural steel. We used concrete for the core of the ballpark, and structural steel was utilized to support the upper levels of the facility. While aiding the schedule, this decision also was supported by all members of the team," said Britton.

"Our teams are in the finishing stages of completion for the stadium. This entails tasks such as sealing spaces for final paint, millwork, and installing flooring and exterior features for the hardscape and landscape.

Roughly 500,000 cu. yds. (382,277 cu m) of dirt/material has been moved on the project. Crews have relied on a variety of heavy machinery to carry out the work.

"We've used just about every type and size of equipment," Britton said. "This includes tower cranes, mobile cranes, spider cranes, forklifts, scissor lifts, concrete pumps, bulldozers, dump trucks, front-end loaders, Bobcats, backhoes, concrete buggies, generators and welding machines."

Main materials utilized have included concrete and steel, along with precast concrete, masonry, metal stud and drywall, metal panels, EIFS, glazing systems, decorative railings, elevators, escalators, waterproofing systems, roofing systems and woodwork. The structure has architectural precast with brick inlay and structural precast.

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