Building Bobcat Stadium
Aug 03, 2009

AUSTIN, TX September 3, 2009 - With the help of some efficient processes, new technology, and a former football letterman, Texas State University can now boast one of the newest additions to the San Marcos skyline. Within clear view of I-35, the impressive Bobcat football stadium expansion will host its inaugural game this Saturday night. In addition to qualifying for the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, a larger stadium is necessary to accommodate a growing fan base with more than 29,000 students and 100,000 alumni. Commenting on the event, Texas State Athletics Director Dr. Larry Teis remarked, "This begins the first phase of what I have envisioned for Bobcat Stadium."


Broaddus & Associates, an Austin-based project management and planning firm, was initially retained by Texas State University to prepare a feasibility plan for the expansion and completed the preliminary study with SportsPlan Studio. Afterwards, Broaddus & Associates was engaged to prepare the long-range master plan and west expansion program. The stadium expansion master plan identified a series of incremental improvements, including new premium seating, increasing general admission seating, and updating the overall stadium quality. The master plan projected a total seating capacity over 34,000 and additional facility improvements to establish a distinct gateway that integrates athletic facilities with the greater campus.


Working in close partnership and collaboration with the university administration, facilities, and athletics departments, Broaddus & Associates considered cost, schedule, constructability, and space program projections to create the ideal development scenario. The plan envisions an incremental growth projection of the general, suite, and club seats, enclosing the north and south end zones, removing the existing track, shifting seating closer to the field, and achieving sightline and observation improvements.


Broaddus & Associates was also selected by the university as project manager for design and construction of the stadium's west expansion. The $17-million renovation and expansion project includes a two-level addition atop the press box, behind the existing west grandstand. The first level hosts the club seating, with 436 seats, and offers exquisite viewing from one end zone to another. It has a full-service buffet and bar, bar tables, two lounge areas, and available covered outdoor seating. The next level holds 15 luxury suites with 268 premium seats. Each 475-square-foot suite features 12 individual chair-back seats, four decorative bar stools, a flat-screen TV, stainless-steel refrigerator, cabinet space, sink, and commemorative plaque with the owner's name marking the suite's lounge area. Retractable windows allow for a climate-controlled, unbeatable gameday experience.


The project also includes construction of a new track and field throwing area, upgrades to the press box, addition of the west-side lighting system, fencing, entry/exit control gates, sidewalks, plaza, landscaping, and parking facilities for premium seat holders.


As project manager, Broaddus & Associates conducted review and recommendations for selection of the architect/engineer and construction manager at-risk. Eventually, O'Connell Robertson & Associates, supported by Heery International, was chosen as architect, while Walter P. Moore was selected as structural engineer, and Austin Commercial was named construction manager at-risk. A variety of subconsultants, subcontractors, and other vendors completed the team.


Broaddus & Associates Senior Project Manager Terry Whitman directed onsite activities of all construction phase activities. Mr. Whitman was uniquely qualified to lead the project, having had a special history with Texas State University and its athletic program. He was a four-year letterman placekicker on the Bobcat football team from 1977-1980. He played at Evans Field, the current stadium's predecessor, and was part of the Lone Star Conference Championship team in 1980. This connection to the program's heritage helped manage the project as it faced extraordinary challenges.


The schedule for this project was particularly aggressive to ensure project completion by this Saturday's game, a remarkable task given that the decision to proceed with the project was made in September of 2008. Using a "schedule fast-track" technique, the Broaddus planning team was integrated into the initial design phase and conducted intensive, multi-day design charrettes to expedite the design process. The "concept to completion" cycle was shortened to an astonishing 11 months. Broaddus & Associates assisted in developing the schematic design in two weeks, completing design development in three weeks, and finishing all construction documents in 88 days.


Building Information Modeling (BIM), the digital representation of a facility's physical and functional characteristics, was another important resource utilized on the project. Utilizing this 3D representation was instrumental in presenting "real-time" information that enabled the university to make daily decisions that could be immediately incorporated into the design and cost modeling process. This modeling program allowed the design and construction team to identify any conflicts or interferences among the facility's systems.


An intensive value-engineering process was utilized to maximize scope and budget maintenance. The purpose of this practice is to optimize a building system's outputs by evaluating performance and costs. Value engineering identifies and eliminates unnecessary expenditures in order to increase the building's value. Broaddus presented over $2.5 million in value engineering alternatives, from which $1.5 million were incorporated into the final design.


The design and construction team scored a touchdown in the first quarter of the stadium's enhancements. In their quest to take their football program to the next level, Texas State University now has the first piece in their facilities expansion completed.


Bobcats Head Coach Brad Wright sums up this entire process best: "The bigger your foundation, the bigger house you can build on it."