Auburn University Stadium | Auburn, IL

Western Specialty Contractors Tackles Tough Restoration Project at Auburn University

Western Specialty Contractors – Atlanta Branch recently tackled the job of restoring the stadium at Auburn University.

The iconic stadium was originally dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1939, before the first varsity football game was played. Although known primarily as a venue for football, the stadium has also hosted appearances by evangelist Billy Graham and musicians James Brown, The Beach Boys, Miranda Lambert, and Kenny Chesney, among others, throughout its history.

The concrete stadium seats 87,451 people and is one of the top 15 largest college stadiums in the U.S. Expanded 14 times since its original construction, with significant renovations in 2004 and 2017, the stadium required restoration and maintenance to prepare it for the 2022-23 football season.

Most sports stadiums and arenas in the United States are made of reinforced and precast concrete with steel seating supports and railings. Unfortunately, an even more universal characteristic is their openness and vulnerability to the elements — in addition to the wear and tear they receive from fans — all of these forces take a toll on a stadium’s structural integrity.

Without routine maintenance and protection, these concrete structures are subject to cracking, spalling, and structural damage from movement and reoccurring freeze and thaw cycles.

Western Specialty Contractors worked with Project Engineer Stephen Ward & Associates of Madison, AL, to analyze the type and extent of damage present in the stadium and recommend cost-effective, remedial measures to extend the facility’s life and keep fans safe. Cutting-edge, long-wearing deck coatings are often recommended to restore a stadium and protect it from future damage.

Western switched the primer on the treads to an epoxy primer due to the concrete having a concrete surface profile (CSP) of 8, with the coating manufacturer requiring a CSP of 3-4. The epoxy primer allowed workers to smooth out the overly rough areas before adding sand to the epoxy to give it the correct profile.

Western’s Atlanta team completed the project in August 2022, right on time for the university’s football season to begin.

University of Notre Dame Football Stadium

As the college football season was fast approaching, Western was contacted to provide a new traffic coating system in all the concourses, concession stands, bathrooms, and pedestrian ramps around the stadium.

The project called for a fast track schedule which included cleaning, preparing, and recoating 270,000 square feet of traffic coating membrane. The project had to be completed in just six weeks to have the stadium ready for opening day.

Western accomplished this task with experience, professional craftsmanship, and by working with the stadium operations staff to meet the schedule.

Lindenwood Stadium

In the spring of 2011, Western Specialty Contractors' Concrete Restoration Department joined a team of consultants and contractors tasked with renovating the football stadium at Lindenwood University’s Belleville, IL campus. During this phase of the project, the team utilized Western’s experience to discuss the concrete restoration work on the north and south seating sections, as well as applying a waterproof urethane deck coating upon completion of the concrete repairs. Once the design phase was finalized, Western was contracted by Blanton Construction and Lindenwood University to complete the concrete and deck coating scopes of work. It was scheduled to begin in the spring of 2012.

With a tight overall schedule to complete the work in time for the upcoming football season, the stadium renovation project hit the ground running in the spring of 2012. Blanton Construction served as the Construction Manager for the University; therefore, handling replacement of the playing surface, site improvements, and construction of new buildings. After the existing seating and mounting brackets were removed, Western’s craftsmen completed a sounding survey to identify delaminated concrete areas and mark for repair.

Inclusive of both the north and south seating sections, approximately 800 square feet of both full and partial depth slab repairs were completed in the seating areas and adjacent concrete stairs and nearly 240 square feet of concrete wall was repaired. Due to extensive age and deterioration, the entire back concrete wall of the south seating section was removed, formed, and re-poured with ready mix concrete. Upon completion of the concrete repairs, a waterproof urethane deck coating system manufactured by LymTal International was applied. In addition, the deteriorated expansion joints in both seating sections were removed and replaced with a firerated, silicone-faced compressible expansion joint manufactured by LymTal.

Another mutually successful stadium renovation project completed by Western’s Concrete Restoration Department.

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H.A. Chapman Stadium at University of Tulsa

The Tulsa office of Western Specialty Contractors was contracted to complete work on the new sky box addition at Chapman Stadium, the University of Tulsa. Western caulked approximately 8,000 lineal feet of control joints and window perimeters. The stadium bowl also had a face lift, adding new seats and cast stone walls which were also caulked. During the project, Western was asked to power wash the existing concrete wall and remove the old paint.

The Chapman Stadium project was fast paced and took a large amount of coordination between the subcontractors and general contractor. The work was completed before the start of the football season.

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Covington High School Stadium

The Covington High School Football Stadium had suffered from years of neglected maintenance. The expansion joints in the stadium had failed and leaked into the lower concourse as well as restroom and concession areas. Western Specialty Contractors was contracted to address these issues.

Western’s crew began the project by removing 500 lineal feet of fencing that dividing the different areas of the stadium. The bleacher seats were then removed. After 20 years of exposure to the elements, soft drinks, and chewing gum, the concrete surface had to be cleaned. This was accomplished using hydro blasting equipment. Mechanical grinders were utilized to remove the gum and on heavily soiled areas.

To protect the 33,000 square foot concrete surface against moisture intrusion, Western installed a three coat Sonneborn deck coating system. The coating not only offers skid resistance to the treads and risers, but is aesthetically pleasing and a positive waterproof membrane.

Prior to the deck coating application, the Western crew installed an Emseal preformed expansion joint system in the lower walkway area.

To complete the project, Western applied a specialty color matched elastomeric coating to the rear parapet, complete with the stenciling of the school’s logo. The bleachers were reinstalled along with new chain link fencing.

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Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Western Specialty Contractors has completed a number of projects for stadium management over the years. They have served as a primary contractor for concrete, coating, and expansion joint work at Sports Authority Field at Mile High (formerly Invesco Field) in Denver, CO.

The expansion joints had to be re-designed and re-constructed. Western had to install seven joints per level (three levels) and the work had to be completed before the first game of the season. The project was finished with a week to spare.

Additional work at the stadium has been scheduled in the near future.

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