Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University began undergoing the second phase of a $256-million renovation on November 21 as soon as fans left after the football game against the University of Arizona.
During phase two, the stadium’s left side will undergo renovations that will include removing a portion of the upper stadium and replacing it with a brand new stadium, adding a premium floor and raising the upper concourse.
The construction is on schedule and tracking to be on budget, says Sun Devil Stadium project representative Isaac Manning.
“The microtiles are going in now, and basically we are doing three bays at a time, working north to south, and it is literally a 12-step process from the time that they cut the beams to balancing, preloading, prestressing, and then putting the stadium back,” Manning says. “It’s one of the more complicated engineering feats that I’ve seen done.”
Hunt Construction is in charge of the renovation of Sun Devil Stadium, and Manning says there are two main things going on with the stadium.
“We are taking it from 70,000 plus seats down to the mid to upper 50s,” Manning says. “So we are reducing the scale of the stadium to create more of an intimate collegiate experience. The lower bowl we are knitting back together, and 40,000 people plus will be in the lower bowl all connected by a lower concourse.”
Following the final phase of the renovation in 2017, Sun Devil Stadium will also be transforming from a usage pattern of seven to eight days a year to facility that’s used every day.
“Probably the biggest change is the programming of using this stadium as a 365 day a year facility and that is a completely different mindset of operations, program and design that we are incorporating into the stadium, because ASU is going to have a $256-million investment in this facility, and it’s in the heart of our campus,” Manning says. “The entire university community is coming together to program how they want to utilize this facility, so let’s not call it a stadium anymore. It’s really a new venue for ASU, and I think that is the biggest change.”
Technology is also being integrated into the renovation by updating stadium features such as Wi-Fi.
“The other part of it is we are not Levi Stadium, so we are going to be incredibly well-wired,” Manning says. “One of the reasons we are taking the lower bowl out is to improve seating comfort but also to get the Wi-Fi in, because we are built on solid rock between two buttes. So we don't have the ability to take care of under stadium space and go back and rewire things, so we have to get all of the Wi-Fi [including] the conduit and everything in before we go back in and pour the lower bowl again after we rip it out.”
The stadium is set to reopen by August 15 in time for the Sun Devil football team’s home opener on September 3.
“We will shut it down in terms of the main seating, and other functions will be done. The student athlete facility construction, which is under the main concourse, will be going on during the season as well as suites and club spaces,” Manning says. “So we will have bodies in seats and then the final completion is expected to be delivered August of 2017.”
Joey Hancock contributed to this report.