November 2009- Many sports fans are talking about the new home of the Dallas Cowboys, the world's largest domed stadium. It came with a price tag of $1.15 billion and can accommodate 100,000 Cowboys fans.
However, Dallas isn't the only city to spend money on stadiums recently. Next door in Louisiana, the iconic Superdome is getting a $19 million facelift. Its exterior bronze-aluminum panels are being replaced with 16,000 thicker, 12-inch-tall-by-25-foot-long aluminum panels that will cover 365,000 square feet of surface area and significantly impact the stadium's energy performance. In total, the facade system will use 220 tons of aluminum and is being supplied by Kalzip Inc., Michigan City, Ind.
This marks the first time the entire Superdome has received a new outer layer. The project began in mid-February and is on schedule to be completed in April 2010.
"The people of New Orleans will be proud," said Doug Thorton, senior vice president of SMG World, West Conshohocken, Pa., the company that manages the stadium, in an article for The New Orleans Times-Picayune. "It will bring back a lot of luster to the Superdome and give it a complete new look."
The exterior renovation will use newly designed aluminum siding that, unlike the old paneling, will be more easily repairable and replaceable. The old siding was riveted in such a way that a single panel couldn't be removed without also removing the panel above it. The new panels will be able to be removed without disturbing neighboring panels.
Also included in the new panel design is a waterproof membrane that will function as a rainscreen, protecting the structure from the elements and improving drainage.
"The new wall system will outperform the original metal skin, eliminate air and water infiltration and bring the insulation value of the exterior skin up to current energy codes," said Trey Trahan, president of Trahan Architects, Baton Rouge, La., in The Times-Picayune article. Trahan Architects is in charge of the design work for the renovations.
Another upgrade are new louvers covering the windows of newly renovated club lounges, which will maintain the stadium uniform look while allowing views into and out of the lounges.
According to the Superdome's official Web site, the exterior isn't the only facet of the stadium being worked on. Other upgrades under way include new sideline seating that will add 3,100 seats and improve access for the disabled; a widening of the plaza level concourse by 50 feet, allowing for more specialty stands, restrooms and improved access; new club suites under both sides of the new plaza level stands; and more suites at the 300 level, as the press box will be moved to the terrace level.
The exterior renovation is part of the original $219 million Superdome renovation initiated after Hurricane Katrina. MM