Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
About the project
Owner/Architect/GC: Cavaliers Operating Company/VAA Architects/Whitin-Turner
Square Footage: 9,595sf
Schedule Variance: June 2021 to October 2021
This rendering of the new family suites is courtesy of ALSD.
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Monsters, is a sports and entertainment arena that the city can take pride in. Formally, known as Quicken Loans Arena until its renovation in 2019, Rocket Mortgage Field House has continued to make updates to the arena during the basketball off-season to make the space adaptive to the needs of players, staff, performing artists, and most importantly Cleveland fans.
In the Summer of 2021, the Field House made the decision to renovate player family lounge areas and the West Bay in preparation for welcoming guests back to the arena after COVID restrictions were changed to allow for large gatherings again. Expanding the West Bay of Rocket Mortgage, affectionately known as Loudville, would allow more space for spectators to gather in an open area while being considerate of overcrowding, and adding additional concessions to the space. Updated family areas for the players’ and coaches’ families were also a thoughtful new amenity after a season with no families or fans in the arena for support. The Cavaliers organization wanted to create a modern, sleek space that families would enjoy gathering in before, during, and after the game.
Next Generation Construction was the ideal partner to help complete the family suites renovation and expansion of the West Bay due to their experience in completing high-quality projects on schedule for the Field House, willingness to collaborate with a team mentality, and health and safety consideration for everyone involved in the project.
EARNED EXPERIENCE ON THE JOB
The Next Generation team and its individual team members have experience working in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for over 5 years. When the Cavaliers made the decision to add new VIP family suites and expand the West Bay area near Loudville to accommodate more fans and concessions, it was important that the work be completed in time for the start of the 2021-2022 season. In working previously with the Next Gen team, the Cavaliers knew that the firm could be trusted with a tight timeline, even considering the unique restrictions at play due to COVID.
The family suites used unique architectural materials to achieve a sleek, modern design. Sourcing some of these materials was difficult with long lead times, but the Next Gen team was able to collaborate proactively with the Cavaliers to plan with consideration of long lead times. Next Gen ordered materials in advance of the work start date and stored them to ensure that the materials would be available when eventually needed.
TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK…AND THE SCHEDULE
The expansion of the West Bay was architecturally complex because the concrete slab had to be extended over an open area to create a circular bar. This circular extension also created curved soffits. The Next Gen team worked closely with the steel and concrete contractors to cut pockets out of the existing structure for tie-ins. The Next Generation team then went behind the steel and concrete contractors and refinished any areas that had been exposed for the tie-in.
Next Gen’s work included ceilings, metal studs, framing, drywall, door frames, and other miscellaneous specialties that required the team to work closely with almost all contractor partners on the project. Within the updated VIP family suites, the feature architectural wall and ceiling with unique lighting required the team to work closely with HVAC and electrical contractors to achieve the intended design.
While the schedule is always top of mind for a construction project, the deadlines for this project were truly, hard stop dates, that could not be moved. With work taking place in the basketball off-season, it was crucial for all construction to be complete by opening night of the 2022 season. But adapting to the needs of the times added a new level of complexity to this project that no one had ever experienced.
ADAPTING TO THE NEEDS OF THE TIME
When construction began on this renovation in the Summer of 2021, most of the population still needed access to a vaccine and venues of this size were just beginning to open to the public with strict guidelines in place. To help keep the space healthy and safe for everyone, explicit rules had to be followed daily to allow access to work in the building.
On days that the venue was hosting an event, construction crews had to show vaccination or in some cases, stop work early to allow for additional disinfecting and ventilation. When crews had to cease work earlier, schedule was made up on the weekends or on third shifts. The entire project team worked diligently together to overcome site restrictions and work safely within new guidelines while still meeting tight schedule windows and eventually completing the project in time for opening night.
THANK YOU TO AN AMAZING PROJECT TEAM
While we cannot show off the beautiful work done in the family suites for VIP guests of the arena, we hope that you have been able to enjoy the new updated Loudville. We would like to thank the Cleveland Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for trusting us with your vision for the project and allowing us to build something great for the community to enjoy. And a special thank you to the entire project team who helped to safely complete the renovation in unique times.
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