Raymond James Stadium, the 65,000 seat home of our Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has been drastically renovated in the first phase of a multi-year plan to give Tampa one of the most luxurious and technologically advanced stadiums in the country. APG was awarded a $7.5 million contract by Manhattan Construction to provide electrical, fire alarm, structured cabling, and TV distribution work in the initial phase, which is now complete. Scoreboards, ribbon boards, sound systems, clubs, concessions, and 128 luxury suites were either completely renovated or totally replaced. Project Manager Ted Maczuga and Project Superintendent Josh Falini took the lead in tackling the huge amount of work to be done, organizing our team to install over 4,500 light fixtures, more than 50 miles of conduit, and 160 miles of wire!
APG was excited to be brought on to this high-profile project, especially considering the unique challenges involved. Renovations on such a massive scale can often be cost-prohibitive, so a contract award was only made after many rounds of budgeting, pricing, and constructability review. Senior Estimator George Lambert put in countless hours at the office as he scoured drawings for cost savings and priced ten or more drawing packages at a time. He responded to dozens of pricing review requests, all of which combined to keep the project within budget while still delivering a stunning aesthetic.
Beyond the standard electrical services we normally provide, APG installed empty raceway conduits for the sound/paging system’s 400+ speakers. This was an exceptionally difficult task that required massive amounts of scaffolding because many of these speakers are located high above the stadium seats. While the sound system raceway was installed, individual 800 A services were connected to two new HD display boards on the north and south ends of the stadium. Combined with four other HD tower walls, Raymond James now has over 31,000 square feet of video display space. The screens are so crisp and clear that you’ll never miss a replay!
The original construction schedule of 17 months was already a challenge because of the large amount of work to be done, but it was made even more difficult by regular, owner-driven design changes and major events that were already on the stadium’s schedule. During the course of the project, nearly 80 design modifications were priced and incorporated into our contract. Virtually all of them represented additional work, but no schedule extensions could be made because renovations had to be totally finished before the start of the 2016 NFL season. We solved the problem with increased manpower, eventually putting nearly 30 field technicians on-site. Even so, music festivals and Monster Jams could not be moved or cancelled, and no work could be performed on those dates. Areas under construction that the public could potentially see had to be completely cleaned and devoid of tools. Then, right after the event, all of our tools and supplies had to be returned to the site before we could get back to work. These starts and stops in the middle of construction were hard to deal with, but Josh Falini and his crew kept the flow going and planned far in advance to keep us on track. This kept our field technicians ahead of the game and allowed us to meet all of our schedule milestones without being forced to drastically increase our crew size at the last moment. Our installation quality stayed astonishingly high from start to finish, and we were even able to finish ten days early!
Now that the first phase has been successfully completed, APG is moving into the next phase, which began last month. This second contract, worth nearly $6 million, covers lighting upgrades, new state-of-the-art home team locker rooms, the complete removal and replacement of all gear in the chiller yard, expansion of the Hall of Fame suite, more suite renovations, and the addition of a team store. The second phase will be just as challenging as the first, with all the work being completed during the short NFL offseason, but we’re absolutely confident that our team can get it done on time and in budget.
APG is proud to have been selected as the contractor of choice on this unique and exciting multi-phase project. There were and are many obstacles to overcome, but our work to date is a testament to the dedication and skill of everyone involved. Thank you Josh, Ted, George, and the entire field crew for your tireless efforts, and keep up the great work as we move into the second phase with our partners at Manhattan Construction. Go Bucs!