Hamilton, N.Y. — As athletic facility structures increase requirements to design and build for high performance, flexibility, functionality, and durability, architects and engineers increasingly are specifying the use of precast concrete. For example, Colgate University’s new athletic facility, located on the former site of Van Doren Field, in Hamilton, N.Y. Precast concrete stadium components, commissioned for the new ice hockey arena, created the indoor arena and seating.

Scheduled to open in October 2016, the new, 2,171-seats ice hockey arena is the main attraction of Colgate University’s new 97,000-square-foot athletic facility. The new facility includes state-of-the-art locker rooms, training room facilities, equipment room facilities, and offices for Colgate's ice hockey, lacrosse, and soccer teams, as well as the new ice hockey rink.

LeChase Construction Services, of Syracuse, N.Y., awarded the contract to construct the new athletic facility, approached Oldcastle Precast for the custom precast concrete stadium components specified. Oldcastle Precast -Selkirk designed, engineered, manufactured, and shipped precast concrete L-shaped single stadium risers, cantilevered support vomitory wall panels, wall panels, and stairs to construct the ice hockey arena for the Raiders, Colgate University’s Division I ice hockey team.

These precast concrete stadium components created the seating areas, team and pedestrian walkways, and ice rink perimeter walls. Precast concrete L-shaped single stadium risers, installed onto steel raker beams, create the arena seating and the cantilevered support wall panels create the team entrance and pedestrian stair walkway areas. The precast stairs with integral landings, leading from the concourse level directly to ground level, and L-shaped risers are also connected to the precast walls for added structural support. Additional precast wall panels were used to surround the ice rink, providing the rink perimeter wall.

Ordinarily, precast concrete components are erected in an outside environment, but not for this project. The building envelope was previously completed and all precast components were erected into place inside. In consideration of the limited height allowance, numerous pre-construction logistics were developed with the client to safely erect the precast components within the building.

The use of precast concrete components for the ice arena provided a consistent, durable solution that allowed for quick assembly of the infrastructure, provided more construction site workspace for support crew and equipment, and precast concrete units such as concourse or vomitory walls and seating offer a durable surface that can withstand the constant battering.

“I think the most obvious advantage is these products are made in a plant, and you’re able to control the quality of the product a lot better,” said David Wan, Engineering Manager for Oldcastle Precast. “I can’t imagine pouring the vertical walls and seating risers in the field and having them turn out as nice as they would in a precast plant.”

SASAKI Architects of Watertown, NY is the Architect of Record and Buro Happold of New York is the Engineer of Record for this project.