The funny thing about the Holaday Athletic Center is that no matter how cold or windy it is outside for football practice, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun hates practicing inside. He likes the players to get used to the elements.
So even if the glistening new practice facility won’t be used every day by the football team (except when there’s lightning in the area – Calhoun might not enjoy sub-freezing temperatures but he doesn’t mess around with lightning), it will be a great benefit to the academy.
“It’s superb,” said Calhoun, who gave $100,000 to the project. “Probably beyond what the ultimate dreams were.”
There are many unique things about the HAC, but one of the most interesting is it was made to be environmentally friendly. There are no air ducts, because heat and air conditioning isn’t pumped in. The building is cooled by large vents and low-energy fans. The design of the building traps heat, and lights aren’t needed most of the time because of the massive windows that bring in natural light. Those touches helped save on the cost of the building.
“It does some things that no building here has ever done before,” Ken Wiseman, the building’s architect, said.
Other small details were addressed. Sun screens on the west windows will make sure the sun doesn’t blind those inside as it sets over the mountains. The goalposts were hung from the roof, six-and-a-half stories high, so there wouldn’t be a post sticking out of the ground, disrupting other sports. Here’s my story on Gazette.com about today’s ceremony. And here’s a list of other fun facts about the HAC, which were provided by the academy:
Construction Facts and Figures
The Holaday Athletic Center (HAC) is a privately funded project which is being built for and gifted to the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) by The USAFA Endowment. The ground-breaking ceremony for the HAC which is an 87,000 SF indoor artificial turf field was held on October 1, 2010. Construction began immediately after with the mobilization of GEJCC Earthworks who excavated and redistributed nearly 80,000 CY of dirt on the nearly-balanced site in only 21 days. Following earthwork, 45 drilled piers ranging in diameter from 18” to 72” and from 20 to 65 feet deep were placed to support the 80 foot columns and 224 foot trusses that span the width of the field. GEJCC had to design a pier embed suspension system to hold the 7000lb pier embeds true to line and grade while the caisson concrete was placed. GEJCC self performed the caissons, grade beams and pier caps, and built 1500 LF of grade beams in less than 4 weeks. In order to speed up steel erection and utilize the limited space on site, the trusses were brought out in 4 pieces, assembled on the ground, and lifted in to place using two 200-ton Liebherr crawler cranes. Each tandem lift was engineered and closely monitored to ensure proper rigging, radiuses and wind limitations were being followed. Pre-lift meetings were held and the lift foreman assigned responsibilities to the crew members just before every lift. This method was an alternate to using shoring towers which saved approximately 24 days on the overall schedule.
To date, despite multiple lost days due to extremely cold weather and wind speeds upwards of 85 mph, steel and precast are substantially complete and exterior finishes have started. The exterior finishes are largely comprised of precast panels, metal panels, polycarbonate panels and curtain wall glazing. The west face of the building, which faces the existing athletic fields, will also receive large vertical sun shades which will help to reduce the afternoon glare. On the interior, artificial field turf runs from wall to wall in every direction. Football, Soccer and Lacrosse field markings will be included and conform to NCAA standards.
A couple other interesting facts are:
- The lowest elevation from the field turf to the bottom of the roof trusses is 65’
- There are 339 fire sprinkler heads in the building
- The building is ventilated using 4 large exhaust fans at truss level opposite of 2 large louvers at ground level
- There is no heat or air conditioning in the building (with the exception of the restrooms) in order to mimic game like conditions in the heat of summer and cold of winter
- There are 168 metal halide lights that light the practice field
- All storm water runs into the site detention pond to reduce the flow of water leaving the site and reduce the amount of sediment in the discharge
- All glazing and polycarbonate panels are covered with white protection netting which is hardly visible to the eye from a distance
- Protection pads are installed at every corner on ground level in order to protect players and equipment from harm
- The 111’ x 47’ banner hanging on the east wall was manufactured in 1 piece in Denver
- There are 2 Big Ass Fans (company name) hanging from the roof deck that are 24’ diameter each