Okland Construction – Maverik Stadium renovation

Okland Construction picOkland Construction’s relationships with subcontractors and Utah State University gave it a winning game plan for a stadium renovation project.

By Jim Harris

Okland Construction is no stranger to the Utah State University campus in Logan, Utah. Okland in 2014 completed a 28,000-square-foot basketball and volleyball facility for the university, one of several university athletic buildings the Salt Lake City-based contractor has overseen.

Although the company’s portfolio includes practice and other athletic facilities on campuses throughout Utah and the Southwest, its latest project at USU stands out. The company this fall will conclude work on a $36 million renovation of the university’s Maverik Stadium, home to the USU Aggies football team.

“This is an exciting project for us,” Project Manager Blake Westbroek says. “We’ve done some athletic venues for Utah State and the University of Utah before this, so it’s not our first foray into such facilities, but it’s our first large-scale opportunity in a football stadium.”

Project Features

The renovation project focuses on the replacement of the stadium’s press box, which dates back to the facility’s original opening in 1968. Work began in April 2015 with the demolition of the press box, as well as most of the grandstand attached to it, Westbroek says. Okland box

Work on the new press box and other upgrades to the stadium began in August 2015, just before football season. Several portions of the stadium remained open to the public during the season. A temporary press box facility was installed by SynTec Seating Solutions, a South Carolina-based company. “We isolated the construction zone from the stadium and followed obvious limitation of what we could do during game days,” he adds, noting that crews were not on site during games.

In addition to the press box, the new portion of the stadium will include 24 luxury suites, 24 loge box suites and 700 club-level seats. Other work includes replacing four sections of bench seating in the lower part of the stadium’s existing building with chairs.

The University is also replacing jumbotron screens in the stadium’s north and south end zones, installing a new sound system, replacing lighting and upgrading wireless technology.

The new portion of the stadium features a steel structure and an exterior consisting of cast stone, metal panels and glazing. The cast stone is at the perimeter of the façade and acts as a “picture frame” to the metal panels and glazing, which form a grid pattern. The building will also include several operable windows in the suites.

Staying Flexible

Okland Construction credits its ability to overcome challenges during construction to its close relationship with Utah State University. “Having a prior history with clients helps a lot in maintaining trust,” Westbroek says. “Even when we have to make tough decisions with clients they know we have their best interest at heart.”

One challenge the contractor faced came early in the project, when its costs during bidding exceeded its original estimates.

“We started the estimating process before the market here really exploded,” Westbroek says. “There was a huge value engineering process between us, the architect and the owner to try to keep costs reasonable after bidding.”

Several of the features the university wanted in the stadium required it to conduct additional fundraising activities, which required scheduling flexibility and contingency planning on the contractor’s part, he adds.

Limited access to the site was also an issue. “We think the biggest challenge was being limited to one road in and one road out, which creates a bottleneck for supplies coming in and garbage going out,” Westbroek says. “We needed to manage access a little more than we’ve been used to doing on other projects.”

Okland created a schedule board that listed times available for deliveries, which subcontractors used to plan their material handling activities. The company also coordinated the removal of the steel and other materials from the demolished press box and adjacent areas. Much of this material was recycled or reused during construction.

The recycling of construction materials helped the company attain LEED Silver certification on the project. Building sustainable projects is a corporate focus for the company, which employs more than 50 LEED accredited professionals. “At Okland, we seek opportunities to build projects that provide lasting benefits to the surrounding community and to the building industry at large,” the company says. “We take great pride that our work has improved the quality of life for countless individuals and that our associates demonstrate time and again that the only limits on human achievement are those we place on ourselves.”

In addition to its recycling practices, the company also earned LEED credits for its hiring of local subcontractors. Many of the key subcontractors on the project are local to the Cache Valley region surrounding the university.

Subcontractors include Cache Valley Electric, who handled electrical, life safety, audio/visual systems and wireless/technology systems; Edge Excavation; underground utilities provider Legrand Johnson and Nichols Brothers Painting. “We used many of the biggest local companies up there,” Westbroek says.

Strong Values

Okland Construction was founded in 1918 by John Okland, a Norway native with a background in carpentry and shipbuilding. Today the company has a host of completed projects in the Southwest in several sectors including laboratories and cleanrooms, healthcare, higher education, federal buildings, hotels and resorts, industrial facilities, office buildings, municipal buildings, churches and retail.

The company applies its core values – be distinct and creative, earn trust with every action, deliver value, create shared successes and remain humble – to all of its projects.

“Our core values really make us shine in any venue – we’re here to deliver value to the owner and give them a great experience,” Westbroek says. “I think that philosophy permeates everything we do, and we try to instill that same attention to detail and pride when it comes to our work with our subcontractors by holding them accountable while treating them with respect.” 

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