BOCA RATON, FLA. — On April 19, Balfour Beatty Construction, with joint venture partner James A. Cummings, celebrated the topping out of the new, 30,000-seat football stadium for Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, Fla. The event marks a significant milestone in the university’s goal to host its first home game in its own stadium on Oct. 15, 2011.
Balfour Beatty Construction hosted the event, which drew more than 400 attendees, including FAU’s President Mary Jane Saunders and University Architect and Vice President of Facilities Tom Donaudy. In appreciation of the construction workers who are delivering their new stadium, members of the FAU Owls football team volunteered to serve the barbecue lunch.
FAU had hoped to open the stadium years ago, but financial challenges prevented the $70 million project from moving forward. Then university officials determined that a public-private partnership (PPP) could serve as a vehicle to help FAU fulfill its vision for expanding the campus housing, which would in turn help stimulate and support further development of recreational and athletic facilities.
The sparkling new state-of-the-art residential community will open this August, ahead of schedule and within budget. The new stadium will open soon thereafter, creating a synergy to further boost FAU’s efforts to provide for its students a full, traditional university experience. Evidence that the plan is working was revealed when enrollment applications doubled to more than 20,000.
“In the six months since the stadium broke ground, we recorded approximately 170,000 man-hours with zero lost-time accidents,” stated Larry Tribble, Balfour Beatty’s loss prevention manager. This achievement reflects Balfour Beatty’s safety initiative, Zero Harm, through which the company is working with clients and industry partners to engineer risk out of all its projects by 2012. At the topping out celebration, Balfour Beatty’s project team distributed safety awards to several workmen who exhibited exemplary Zero Harm practices.
When complete, the new, 160,000-square-foot stadium will seat 30,000 fans and feature a 16,000-square-foot Priority Club with Cabana Bar, an 8,000-square-foot Premier Club, and 26 private suites. The stadium’s upper-level press box will accommodate the media and producers for national televised broadcasts along with control to manage all of the stadium’s state-of-the-art systems such as video screens, public address, house lighting, field lighting, and security.