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Buro Happold

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Buro Happold Tops Out University of Nebraska’s Pinnacle Bank Arena, Future Home of the Huskers

To build the 16,000-seat arena over existing railroad tracks in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, and keep the project on schedule for its fall 2013 completion, Buro Happold designed a pioneering, two-part structural system and created a fabrication model that expedited the schedule.

New York, NY, January 12, 2013 --( As builders hoisted the last beam into place on the Pinnacle Bank Arena roof, the topping out ceremony marked one of the project’s final milestones in preparation for its August opening. Buro Happold designed an innovative structural system to make the project fit between active railroad tracks in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. When finished, the $179 million arena will seat 16,000 with the capacity for 2,000 additional seats. The design team for the project includes structural engineer Buro Happold, architect DLR Group, and construction manager Mortenson Construction. The project manager for the owner was PC Sports.

A cornerstone in the redevelopment of Lincoln, Pinnacle Bank Arena will be home to the Nebraska Cornhuskers men's and women’s basketball teams. It will also be a major regional destination for large events.

Buro Happold, the architect and contractor overcame the challenges of building the arena over active railroad tracks that were in use through the first year of construction.

"Buro Happold was instrumental to our project's success very early in the process," stated Stan Meradith, AIA, lead architect for DLR Group. "The firm's collaborative approach saved the design team approximately $3 million that we would otherwise have spent in phasing the construction of the arena drum."

The engineers used BIM technology to design a two-part structural system. An inner concrete structure, shoehorned between the tracks, encloses the basketball court and the seating areas. After the tracks were removed in July 2012, a steel structure was built at the perimeter of the concrete structure.

“Typically, bowl structures are made out of concrete OR steel, but the site conditions here are especially challenging,” explained structural engineer Erleen Hatfield, who is partner-in-charge of the project for Buro Happold. “So the team solved the problem by creating an unusual structure that combines two different materials for the lower structures.” Hatfield is a Lincoln native and an alumna of the University of Nebraska.

John Hinshaw, senior project manager, Mortenson Construction, stated, "With a mandate to overcome nearly impossible schedule demands, Buro Happold formulated a unique plan to marry a cast-in-place structure with a steel structure, each built on opposing sides of the existing railroad tracks. Buro Happold's innovative, collaborative and open-minded approach was not only the engine that drove a successful structural phase, but was also a contagious, 'can-do' attitude that has greatly influenced the remaining phases of the project."

To expedite the construction process, Buro Happold created a fabrication model of the roof components in September 2011, which reduced steel fabrication time by four to six weeks.

The design team and contractor all used BIM to integrate the concrete and steel structures and achieve the 350-foot roof span. Because the span could not exceed the width of the tracks, the slope of the arena seating is steeper than usual, providing a benefit, as it will bring the spectators closer than normal to the players on the court.

About Buro Happold
Buro Happold is an independent international practice of consulting engineers. Since 1976 we have grown in size and reach to serve public and private clients across a full range of sectors through an international network of 29 offices; our five North American offices are based in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. We draw on the multi-disciplinary skills, knowledge and experience of our local experts to design and deliver award winning building, infrastructure and environmental projects that excel for clients, engage with communities and enrich the lives of users. Sustainability, innovation and holistic consulting are at the heart of everything we do and we are committed to touching the earth lightly. We think harder and are dedicated to addressing the big challenges that face the planet – climate change, population growth and scarcity of natural resources. Current and recent projects include the Baylor University Stadium, (Waco, Texas), the Aviva Stadium (Dublin), the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, the King Abdullah Financial District (Riyadh), The Tower at PNC (Pittsburgh) and the High Line (New York).
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Hausman LLC
Troy Cain

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