Best Sports/Entertainment: Vivint SmartHome Arena Renovation
Owner ICON Venue Group
Lead Design Firm SCI Architects PC
General Contractor Okland Construction Inc.
Structural Engineer Wilson & Co.
Civil Engineer CRS Engineers
MEP Engineer ME Engineers
Electrical Engineer BNA Consulting
When the project team for the renovation of the home arena of the Utah Jazz was given their deadline, they suspected this wouldn’t be an ordinary project. With an eye on completing the $80-million renovation during the brief NBA offseason, they knew it would be tight. But when the Jazz made the playoffs that year, it meant the project team would have only 129 days for the entire construction phase of a top-to-bottom arena renovation.
“It was not a normal project,” recalls Jeremy Blanck, project executive with general contractor Okland Construction. “The project was a significant effort to not only plan and prepare, but to undertake and execute in that fixed amount of time.”
The Vivint SmartHome Arena had not been updated since its construction in 1991, so there was a lot of work to do. Twenty thousand arena seats were ripped out and replaced, while the concourses and main entrance were completely redone. The ground level was redesigned, with private spaces for VIPs. A 12,000-sq-ft open atrium was added to the entrance. “We probably had 78 different subcontractors on site,” says Blanck. “Over 2,000 workers with an average of 500 workers on site every day.” In just over four months, crews worked in two shifts on a site that was running 20 hours a day, seven days a week. The job would normally have a 16-month to 18-month phased schedule, Blanck estimates.
Upfront planning was key to the project’s success. Reliable as-builts for the arena helped demolition go smoothly, and suppliers provided just-in-time deliveries. The only real snag was the result of a natural disaster 1,000 miles away. “Our retractable seating came in from overseas, and it was scheduled to come into the Port of Houston the same time that Hurricane Harvey hit,” says Blanck. The project team had to shuffle workloads to avoid delays on site, but after a week waiting at sea, the seating came in. “We got to be one of the first ships to get in after the storm,” he says. An expedited shipment to Utah and some creative scheduling kept the project to its 129-day deadline.