College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

How Iowa State civil, construction engineering alumni built the Jack Trice Stadium South End Zone

One of Iowa State University’s largest construction projects had many Iowa State civil engineering and construction alumni and students at the helm. Students and graduates put their skills to practice on the Jack Trice Stadium South End Zone, a fast-paced, $37.4 million project that opened in August 2015.

The Jack Trice Stadium South End Zone was conceived when Iowa State University Athletic Director Jamie Pollard met with Dean McCormick (BSConE’81), director of construction and design services for Iowa State University Facilities Planning and Management, shortly after Roy and Bobbi Reiman donated $25 million in November 2013. “He came to me and said, ‘We want to do it, and by the way, we want to have it open for football season 2015,’” McCormick said. “Probably my first though was: ‘I don’t know if that’s even possible.’”

From a construction perspective, the 13-month schedule presented special challenges for engineers and workers. Ben Bunge (BSConE’05), project manager for The Weitz Company, represented Weitz as construction manager and coordinated the project’s contractors. “We communicated early on the aggressive schedule,” Bunge said. “Doing the math, it’s a lot of work being put in place in a very short order.”

In his role, Bunge oversaw 15 prime contractors, 40 subcontractors, and about 200 construction personnel – nearly all based in central Iowa. “It’s a big economic growth opportunity for central Iowa,” Bunge said.

Emerging construction management technologies enabled the team to complete the Jack Trice South End Zone well and on time. One of those approaches was going paperless. They implemented virtual design and construction (VDC), through the coordinated use of BlueBeam, Revit and Navisworks software, to produce and communicate 3-D models for all building systems on the project.

Engineers virtually dissect 3-D building components at any level. “It is better to plan it in the virtual world than the real world so you don’t waste money on people and time fixing preventable mistakes,” said Matt Tursi (BSCE’11), project engineer for The Weitz Company. “This cool advance in technology translates the design world to the built world.”

Jason Knipp (BSConE’07), project manager for Henkel Construction, coordinated construction of what fans see as they enter the Sukup End Zone Club. He managed the finishes, which includes metal stud framing, drywall, carpentry, stairways, handrails, and other aesthetics. One notable feature is the grand staircase that is finished with a terrazzo platform. Other aesthetic finishes are two industrial-grade grain bins as “ceiling clouds” that hang over identical circular bars, each on the second floor of the Sukup End Zone Club. Each grain bin was constructed in one week within the club space.

Ryan Catus (BSConE’11), project engineer for The Weitz Company, used VDC to manage the finishes, roofing, and masonry components of the south end zone construction. Catus grew up in Ames, so the project truly feels close to home. “It’s my hometown, so it will be pretty cool to drive by when I’m older and say ‘I helped build that,’” Catus said.

Austin Norberg (BSConE’09), project manager for Seedorff Masonry, Inc., managed masonry installation for four bathroom pods and east- and west-side veneers of the Sukup End Zone Club.

In addition to the south end zone enclosure, Jack Trice Stadium renovated its drainage system. Joe Winter (BSConE’14), project manager/estimator for J&K Contracting, and Grant Reimers (BSConE’13), project manager for Woodruff Construction, coordinated the installation of a new pump-lift drainage station. Winter coordinated excavation of the ditch for the new pump-lift station that Woodruff Construction built. This system replaces a pump station that was in Jack Trice Stadium’s old southeast hillside seating, which now is section 27.

Students also contributed to the project. Lucas Baxter, a spring 2015 construction engineering graduate, tracked progress on VDC plans during his internship with Baker Electric. Kristin Larsen, a spring 2015 civil engineering graduate, updated electronic plans as an intern for The Weitz Company.

“This is a wow project,” McCormick said. “The interest we see from Iowa State Athletics, the community, and the state makes this especially rewarding.”