SunTrust Park Project Details
Contractor: American Builders 2017
Structural Engineer: Walter P. Moore
Fabricator: Hirschfeld Industries
Modeler/Detailer: BDS VirCon
The Atlanta Braves called Turner Field home for nearly 20 years, but time had taken its toll on the stadium, and the team was faced with a structure that needed nearly $150 million in major repairs. Originally built for the 1996 Summer Olympics and converted to a baseball stadium after the games, the venue needed seats replaced, lighting upgrades and improvements to several other big-ticket items. This led to the decision to build a new stadium, and, in 2014, the Atlanta Braves broke ground on SunTrust Park, a $672 million, 41,500-seat Major League Baseball (MLB) stadium, which it would call home in 2017.
The team’s lease had expired at Turner Field, putting on pressure to wrap up construction and have the stadium ready for opening day of the 2017 baseball season. The entire project was completed in just 36 months, one of the tightest schedules for MLB stadium construction, ranking second behind Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The hybrid structure of the stadium was key to meeting the project’s tight timeframe. American Builders, the contractor, evaluated several structural system options but ultimately selected a concrete system with steel on top to speed up the construction process. The concrete also was self-performed, which gave the team better control of schedule and costs. SunTrust Park came with a variety of structural steel elements, each with its own unique set of challenges that required more than 60 permit loads to ship.
Accommodating an expedited schedule meant shipping various structural components and reducing erection time onsite. This included four 175-foot light towers that were detailed and fabricated in 30- to 50-foot sections, fully assembled offsite to ensure the proper fit, and then disassembled and shipped to Atlanta. Each light tower consisted of four tiers of frames, designed so they could be split into two separate frames per section for shipping. Initially, for each section, the two frames were intended to be assembled on the ground in the field prior to erection, using multiple field-bolted concealed cruciform splices between diagonal pipe sections. However, the project’s BIM software, Trimble’s Tekla Structures, enabled close coordination between the modeler/detailer, BDS VirCon, and the fabricator, Hirschfeld Industries, allowing them to modify the initial design concept so the light towers could be shipped as three completely welded sections; lower and middle sections at around 30-50 feet long, with the top section at 95 feet long. This eliminated a significant number of pipe field-splice connections and cut down on erection time on the field. To cut and weld the ends of the connecting circular pipe, the team also applied Tekla HGG tube macros to the model, allowing XML-format files to be easily extracted and imported directly into the pipe-cutting machinery. This ensured accurate fit up of the pipes, which connected from multiple angles into a single node.
To support a two-month erection schedule, 43 terrace-level raker trusses, ranging in weight from 11-30 tons, were detailed, fabricated, assembled and shipped directly to the site. Prior to raker truss erection, built-up plate-connection nodes were set on and poured into the concrete columns. The raker trusses fabricated and shipped were approximately 78 feet long and 16 feet wide.
SunTrust Park by the Numbers
- 57,312 cubic yards of concrete, which equates to more than 4,770 truckloads of concrete
- 5,640 tons of rebar, which is approximately the weight of 800 African elephants
- 6,800 tons of structural steel, which is approximately the weight of 170 tractor-trailers
- 33,201,065 pounds of structural precast, which is approximately the weight of 190 C-140 jets
- 231,890 linear feet, or nearly 44 miles, of pipe
- 602,000 hand-set bricks, which would stretch 76 miles if laid end to end
Originally published on: https://informedinfrastructure.com/
Written by: Brad Masters, Senior Project Manager, BDS Vircon