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State-of-the-art collegiate sports facility

image The University of Houston Fertitta Center

HOUSTON - Currently celebrating 100 years in Houston, TX, Turner Construction Company completed their first Houston project in 1919 for Humble Oil (now ExxonMobil) at the Baytown Refinery. Henry Turner founded the company in 1902 based on the core values of teamwork, integrity and commitment.




   Today, the company’s reach is global, upholding its founder’s vision to provide valuable services to clients, build partnerships in the community, and deliver important resources such as schools, hospitals, workplaces, and social and cultural centers.
     Turner Construction began renovating The University of Houston Fertitta Center in March 2017 and completed renovations by Dec. 1, 2018.
    The dramatic re-visioning of the University of Houston Fertitta Center transformed the 200,000sf arena into a state-of-the-art collegiate sports facility, creating a brand-new experience for fans, student-athletes, coaches, staff, and students. It also supports recruitment and retention of players and staff while increasing revenue generation opportunities for the university.
    Exterior renovations included replacing the existing exterior panels at each corner of the long-span structure with a new curtain wall that introduces natural light, transparency and a true sense of arrival for visitors.
    Concourse improvements transformed the fan experience. Large entry lobbies at the northeast and southwest corners provide visual connectivity from outside the building and into the seating bowl. These “fan zones” feature a concentration of food service options and flexible gathering spaces.
    The reconfigured bowl moved mid-court seating locations closer to game action with floor-level seating opposite the team benches for students. More than 700 premium seats were developed to give fans luxury seating options. Renovations also included a new audio system, sports lighting and video boards as well as new concession stands and expanded restrooms.
    Resinous epoxy flooring, exposed ceilings and steel framing were the interior’s primary construction materials. Exterior materials comprised of aluminum metal panels, brick, anodized aluminum storefront and pre-manufactured wood siding.
    Because of the project’s accelerated schedules, Turner incorporated procedures to assist team communication and to mitigate schedule risk. Turner utilized ‘Pull-Plans’ in order to utilize subcontractor and design team expertise. The team focused on portions or sectors of the project and met with trades involved as well as designers/consultants to schedule the project from the milestone finish backwards to the present. Despite Hurricane Harvey, as well as increased scope, the project still managed to open one month ahead of schedule. 
    Turner also focused on schedule communication with the University of Houston. The Turner team reviewed the project schedule updates monthly with the UHFPC team in detail, reviewing monthly accomplishments, updates, critical paths and schedule floats. The three-week look-ahead was reviewed weekly for updates in the day-to-day activities.
    The original Hofheinz Arena was completed over December of 1969 and was reopened on the 49th anniversary.  The building layout and many of the previous building materials were unique.  The project consisted of a complete remodel in order to improve the Cougar fan experience, while maintaining the legacy of the historic building and UH Basketball.  There were numerous parties and end-users involved who were dedicated to completing a successful project while maintaining a challenging construction schedule to open on time. 
    AECOM, PGAL, Turner and the University of Houston made an agreement early in the project committing to work together as one team for a successful project. Knowing challenges would arise, Turner Project Executive Tung Nguyen, Project Manager Ross Cromer and Project Superintendents Carl Mouser and Tyler Bergin maintained open, transparent communication in order to create a collaborative environment across the board.
    Turner Construction Company is a full-service general contractor with 46 offices nationwide including North and Central Texas and Houston. -cmw

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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net