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Walkup Skydome Set to Reopen This Week with Fort Lewis Game

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The J.L. Walkup Skydome at Northern Arizona University has undergone its first major renovation since it opened in September 1977.  The NAU Skydome is the second largest clear span timber framed dome in the country at 268,000 square feet ,with a seating capacity of 10,000. The Skydome is a multi-purpose facility that is home to the NAU Lumberjack football and track and field teams and is a premier location for conventions and conferences in the Flagstaff area. 

"This project makes it possible for NAU to create a higher quality game-day experience," said Athletics Director Jim Fallis. "From the new press box and coaches' offices to the six game-day suites and new seats throughout, the Skydome renovation makes it possible for us to present the game in the finest environment to our fans."

The Lumberjacks will host Fort Lewis Saturday at 3:07 p.m. in the first athletic contest in the rennovated building.

Barton Malow Company was chosen to provide Construction Management at Risk services for the renovation, which primarily included upgrades to ADA and safety codes, based on their qualifications and past experience.  "We have a lot of experience building sports stadiums as well as renovation projects," said Jason Mullins, Project Manager. "It was a good fit for our abilities."

ADA and safety improvements include handrails, wheelchair spaces and access to various areas of the Skydome, egress improvements as well as electrical, mechanical, fire protection and water system upgrades.

Other improvements and renovations include:

* For the players: new locker rooms and improved training and weight rooms

* For the media, staff and coaches: A new press box with elevator access and new, upgraded administrative offices

* For the fans: New entryways, concourse areas, restrooms, enhanced retail space and new, more comfortable seating that allows for an enhanced viewing experience

BIM (Building Information Modeling) was used during preconstruction for accuracy.  "BIM is crucial in a renovation," Mullins said.  Details of fire protection, electrical and mechanical systems in a virtual model allowed the team to detect and eliminate design conflicts before they happened in the field.   BIM helped to provide measurable cost and time savings for the owner. 

This fast-track project was completed on a stringent schedule that included the temporary relocation of coach and staff offices.

"[Barton Malow] understood the university's need to build in flexibility while maintaining the existing structure," noted Mullins.

In nine short months, Barton Malow Company along with the Skydome facility team completed all renovations to the dome and made it available for daily practice by the NAU football and track and field teams, as well as the Arizona Cardinals NFL Training Camp. 

"In addition to the complete renovation at the field level, it allows us to provide the student athlete with the latest in locker room, equipment room and training room features' said Fallis "This project was a key component in our strategic programming which is to move NAU athletics to the top amongst our peer institutions."

Facts and Figures…Project Cost: $26 Million. Project Start: December 21, 2010. Project Completion Date: Sept. 9, 2011. Seating: 10,000 (21-inch wide chair back seating). Scope: Fire, life and safety up to code, remodeled bathrooms, concourse, offices, suites, locker rooms and press box. Athletic training and equipment rooms have been remodeled. Building now has four elevators. View: East and west concourses open to a panoramic view of the field.

Story by Kelly McNair of Barton Malow.

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