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A Modern Masterpiece: Allegiant Stadium

In August, the doors to Allegiant Stadium will open to the public for the first time, unveiling arguably one of the most exciting entertainment venues in the world. Less than three years after the groundbreaking ceremony, all eyes will be on the new home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. The 65,000-seat, almost $2 billion stadium is positioned right next to the iconic Las Vegas Strip and is the latest example of next generation sports venues. State-of-the-art Allegiant Stadium boasts best-in-class amenities, a fully retractable grass playing surface, and 350,000 SF of ETFE (a lightweight alternative to glass) roof. SSR provided sports engineering expertise for mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection design services, sustainability consulting, and commissioning services.

Committed to opening in 2020, two main challenges to the project were the aggressive design and construction schedule and the project budget. To meet these challenges, SSR partnered with qualified and talented mechanical and electrical subcontractors for an integrated design-assist delivery. This integrated approach allowed for collaboration to maintain project schedule and actively maintain cost certainty related to mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems. This partnership even extended to the production of the permit drawings and construction BIM. SSR and our design-assist partners utilized common BIM models for the development of the project. At the end of the day, the GMP was successfully established in a 13-month period and the permit drawings were completed in just 16 weeks, which was a major accomplishment for a project of this scope and magnitude.

The sleek, black glass façade and translucent roof of the stadium were architectural visions that the SSR team was able to assist in bringing to life. SSR created and ran an energy model to accurately depict the complex façade of the building. Our team worked closely with the architect to determine what ratio of insulated metal panels, tinted vision glass, and ETFE would work in order to meet Nevada’s strict energy code. The huge undertaking required our team of engineers to study the optical and thermal properties of each exterior material, including several iterations of the ETFE roof to determine what overall size/shape and level of translucency would perform the best. From an HVAC perspective it became critical for our team to understand how much heat transfer occurred through the building envelope to guarantee fan comfort. Our sustainability team was able to use accurate heat loads and temperature gradients to inform design decisions for the bowl and envelope HVAC systems. The result is a stunning facility that both upheld the Raider’s desire for a glass building and complied with required energy codes

Another important part of the building façade that impacted the building design are the large operable doors on the north side of the Stadium. The bowl HVAC design needed to accommodate several different event configurations, some of which included opening the doors. From an energy code and occupant comfort perspective, there are certain restrictions in place that govern when the doors can be opened based on the outdoor conditions. SSR’s team helped create guidelines for the facility and inform the overall project team.

Allegiant Stadium features the world’s largest functional fabric duct air system in the bowl that seamlessly doubles as a prominent architectural element. While fabric duct is not unique for a large sports facility, the stadium’s shape necessitated a completely custom duct system. Additionally, the design team had a vision to include a sweeping architectural ribbon element that circled the entire stadium bowl. Seizing the opportunity early in the design, SSR, the architect, and the duct manufacturer worked together on the idea for this ribbon to not only be an architectural statement piece, but to also become a functional air duct.

Once the project moved into construction, SSR’s commissioning team was frequently on-site reviewing installation and testing the equipment to ensure proper functionality.

Allegiant Stadium is the latest example of how engineering and design can help shape our communities and provide fans with unforgettable experiences. When it opens, the stadium will be an iconic home to the Raiders and we are proud to share in their “Commitment to Excellence.”

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Interested in learning more about SSR’s involvement in Allegiant Stadium? Contact Kevin Graham, PE, LEED AP, at KGraham@ssr-inc.com.

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