By: RK Mechanical
RK Mechanical, Inc. won two Award of Excellence trophies at the ABC-EIC awards on October 19th. One was awarded for the new Rooftop at Coors Field and the other was for the work that RK did on the Aspen Art Museum. RK also won a second place Award of Merit trophy for the Denver Union Station project.
While the original plan for Coors Field, located at the now-famed corner of 20th and Blake Street in Denver, was for a modest stadium of 43,800 seats, the first season of Rockies baseball, played at Mile High Stadium, set an all-time MLB single season attendance record of 4.5 million. Due to the mass amount of fans and interest, the construction team added an additional section to the stadium plans – specifically the right upper deck.
Hailed as one of the most spectacular stadiums in MLB, Coors Field’s history goes beyond its 1991-1995 construction. In 1994, the construction team made a discovery of ancient archaeological proportions – a Cretaceous-era dinosaur egg, an unidentified dinosaur rib, and the crown-jewel: a 7-foot-long, 1,000-pound Triceratops’ skull. The discoveries of the fossils led to the birth of Dinger – the purple dinosaur mascot of the Colorado Rockies.
Coors Field officially opened for the start of the 1995 MLB season, hosting its first game on April 26th. Cultivating the next generation of fans, the Colorado Rockies announced in October of 2013 their plans to add a brand new rooftop viewing and entertainment area on the upper right field deck and concourse. Populous, the original architect on Coors Field, created a master plan for the new, two-level, 38,000 square-foot area to include multiple bars, restaurants and social gathering areas to be completed with a ‘LoDo’ (Lower Denver) theme, including stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.
In order to help bring the new rooftop area to life, the Colorado Rockies partnered with Mortenson Construction for their general contractor, Populous and ME Engineering. With a proven track record of successfully completing complex stadium projects, RK Mechanical, Inc. was selected as the mechanical contractor for the Rooftop at Coors Field.
As an ASME and AISC certified contractor, RK Mechanical is rooted in tested processes designed to deliver predictable results. Surprise internal audits throughout the duration of the project helped to ensure that the team was doing what they said they would do with trained and certified personnel, as well as properly documenting progress along the way. By ensuring clarity of goals and expectations, the RK Mechanical team was able to effectively work with on-site personnel without compromising standards.
There were a number of challenges regarding scheduling on the project that occurred while RK was on-site, including an extremely short time line and the freezing temperatures that come with Colorado winters.
The crew worked outside in the dead of winter and experienced multiple delays due to -20 degree temperatures. Not only were the team’s toes and fingers numb, the adhesive glues would actually freeze during installation, limiting exposure duration. On several occasions, the team would have to stop work for the inclement weather and work longer shifts the following week to make up for the schedule delays.
In order to meet the quick project deadline and combat the unpredictable weather, team members were asked to work 60-70 hours per week. This daunting task was met with employee perks and motivating incentives including weekly gift card drawings to those who worked over 60 hours the week before. This tactic kept employee morale high and inspired the team to keep pushing toward the project deadline.
Value engineering generates alternatives that secure essential system functions at the best project value. Implementation and rigorous use of value engineering strategies help to keep the project within budget. RK Mechanical’s level of experience in selecting equipment, systems options, and constructability, all play a major role in the value engineering effort. On the Rooftop at Coors Field project, the RK Mechanical team followed strict processes to keep the project within budget, while maintaining the integrity of the design intention.
In addition to the quick schedule and wicked winter weather, the RK team was met with an additional obstacle – the stadium itself. Half of the area below the concourse level was above part of the stadium seating. In order for the team to complete the below slab plumbing, they had to erect a 250-foot long, 30-foot wide and 30-foot tall ‘dance floor’ scaffolding. The ‘dance floor’ allowed the team to reach the below slab to install the new plumbing system.
The team’s creativity was also tested while setting project equipment, due to the downtown location. The team was tasked with placing the make-up air units (MAUs) by flying them in over the top of the stadium without disrupting or hitting any of the expensive and hard to replace stadium lighting. Completing this assignment involved an extremely large crane and meticulous attention to detail. The crew was able to place all of the project equipment without error, due to constant communication and team collaboration.
The Rooftop at Coors Field project was finished in March of 2014 just before Opening Day in April. The new, 38,000 square-foot space hosts an abundance of food vendors, including the Tavern Ballpark, CHUBurger Colorado Craft Casual Grill and Tuaca Terrace Bar. In addition to the new restaurants and bars, fans can utilize the new garden setting area and cabanas, watch the game on the outdoor TVs, enjoy pre-game entertainment and, of course, root for their Colorado Rockies to win!