INTERVIEWEES: Cliff Radatovich (Campos Engineering) & Alissa Cunningham (Trail Drive Management Corp.)
PROJECT: Dickies Fort Worth Multi-Purpose Arena
PROJECT START DATE: February 2017
ESTIMATED COMPLETION: September 2019
DESIGN ARCHITECT: David M. Schwarz Architects
ARCHITECT OF RECORD: HKS
OWNER: Dickies International
PROJECT DELIVERY: Public-Private-Partnership
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Dickies Arena will be a 14,000-seat, spectacular multipurpose venue located adjacent to the Will Rogers Memorial Center campus in Fort Worth, Texas. The facility is the result of a pioneering public-private partnership between the City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County, the State of Texas, and a group of private-sector participants, including foundations, individuals, and organizations. The arena will be owned by the City of Fort Worth and managed by the not-for-profit operating entity, Trail Drive Management Corp. (TDMC). The state-of-the-art arena, scheduled to open in November 2019, will host concerts, sporting events, and family entertainment, and will be the new home to Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo performances. For more information, visit www.dickiesarena.com
Q: THIS EDITION OF IN FOCUS IS FOCUSED ON WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT. WHAT PROACTIVE MEASURES DID THE TEAM EMPLOY TO SECURE SKILLED LABOR AND KEEP EVERYONE SAFE DURING THE LIFE OF THE PROJECT?
Campos A: At Campos, we try to hire a mix of individuals who have engineering degrees, as well as skilled labor. The team at Dickies Arena had a great mix of both engineers and skilled labor. For example, I [Cliff] have an engineering degree but did not have field experience when hired. At Campos, we like to hire on personality and how we feel someone is going to fit on the team, rather than your level of experience and expertise – that’s something that can be taught. In regards to safety for this project, all Campos team members were required to complete TEXO Safety First training prior to working onsite.
A LOT OF ATTENTION WAS POURED INTO THE ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS OF THE PROJECT. THE ARENA IS ARCHITECTURALLY DESIGNED SO PATRONS WILL ALWAYS BE WALKING DOWN TO HIS OR HER SEAT AND NEVER UP TO A SEAT.
Q: HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE ONSITE AT THE PEAK OF THE PROJECT?
A: 1,100 at peak of the project. (Projecting 4 million man hours by end of the project)
Q: WERE THERE ANY SPECIFIC TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS REQUESTED BY THE OWNER?
Campos A: For the most part, HVAC testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) servicers are pretty defined for each project. Testing is specific in nature, and tried and true. However, Campos has an innovation department, and one of the biggest technological advancements we deployed on this project was our exclusive CAR (Corrective Action Report) app, developed by Campos Engineering.
With any project, TAB services are utilized to report and resolve deficiencies. There could be minor issues to report, such as the ductwork installation or missing or broken equipment, or it could be something as large as needing a fan replaced because it’s incapable of proper performance. Campos used to take down notations by hand during the day and then at night transcribe everything to the relevant parties that needed to know about the issue. This process would get confusing and people would inevitably want to see corresponding photos for all issues.
Now, using Campos’ CAR app through a smartphone, we can efficiently identify and document issues; write the summary of what’s wrong; identify the exact equipment, the specific area of the building, and who is responsible; and provide corresponding documentation photography. Depending on the jobsite and Wi-Fi capabilities, the Campos team can immediately sync and upload the information to the entire project team while still on the jobsite. Some GC clients want that information every day, and some want it weekly. The CAR app allows us to accommodate any client preference.
Q: WHAT OTHER ASPECTS SET APART THE DICKIES ARENA PROJECT?
TDMC A: So many aspects of the Dickies Arena set it apart – as a whole, it’s about the total guest experience. The facility was designed to encourage walkability, and the detailwork that was included is second to none. In terms of acoustics, rather than aiming for ‘sports noise,’ the arena is built for music, which is great for the concerts that we will host.
A lot of attention was poured into the architectural details of the project. The arena is architecturally designed so patrons will always be walking down to his or her seat and never up to a seat. A heap cut stairwell was designed for the southeast entrance of the building based on inspiration from a set of similar stairs in Europe. The intention of design throughout the building was to always keep walking and make the stairs less intimidating than what you typically see in large facilities. Every detail of the building was carefully curated to ensure the best possible guest experience. The finishes throughout the facility are high end, with intricate lighting fixtures throughout.
Another unique aspect separating the Dickies Arena project is that it will be debt free and technically operated as non-profit. Trail Drive Management Corp. (TDMC) will be the not-for-profit operating entity for the arena, and all food and beverage will be done in-house, complete with an executive chef.
Q: WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE ON THIS PROJECT?∗
Campos A: Dickies Arena will host varying types of events, many with pyrotechnics or indoor fireworks, which makes the smoke evacuation sequencing complicated. There is one singular smoke evacuation system with seven different modes of operation to sequence and evacuate the smoke.
Campos will work with the design engineer and controls subcontractor to test the smoke evacuation system ensuring it is up to code. This is one of the last things to address on this project, and it will include coordination between Campos, the controls contractor, mechanical and electrical contractors, and the fire marshal.
∗At the time of this interview, testing the smoke evacuation system had just started.
Q: WHAT WAS MOST EXCITING ABOUT BUILDING THIS PROJECT?
Campos A: In general, there is a lot of excitement in town with this being such a marquee project. Our job at Campos might not always be the most glamorous job in the world, but it’s exciting when it’s a high-profile project like this. You have a sense of pride when the facility is finished, and you get the chance to attend an event and know you had a small part of ownership in making the project come to life.
This project is also unique with its multipurpose ice floor, which will be able to accommodate Disney on Ice and hockey games, among other events.
Q: WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT SETS YOU APART FROM YOUR COMPETITION?
Campos A: We do a really great job of crosstraining at Campos Engineering. It’s very fluid – our people conduct technical work, as well as project management, and vice versa. Whether you’re a project manager, team leader, or a technician, you’re going to have interaction with the rest of the team. The training is good because you learn how to talk to people at all different levels of the organization.
Constant open and honest communication also sets us apart. If we make a mistake, we own it. Honesty is the key and what’s appreciated. We respect what all aspects of the entire project team are trying to accomplish and understand that we aren’t the only trade onsite, so we try to quickly communicate any issues to the team with respect to their project deadlines and project completion.
Q: HOW DID YOU MAINTAIN A SPIRIT OF COLLABORATION THROUGHOUT THE LIFE OF THE PROJECT?
Campos A: We enjoyed a lot of Railhead Smokehouse BBQ and cold brews on Friday afternoons. We also were fortunate enough to have completed a lot of previous work with many of the other trades onsite at Dickies Arena, and those former relationships transcended into easy project team collaboration.
Q: WHAT DID YOU DO TO KEEP THINGS FUN ON THE JOBSITE?
Campos A: We create opportunities for our team to have fun. Sometimes we do this strategically through team building; and other times, it’s through a lot of memes in a group text message. We find ways to make people laugh, like jamming out to a Boyz II Men song. In general, we just try to inject some levity and brighten everyone’s spirits through the day and duration of a project.