At the core of every football or baseball stadium is the field. The field is where the action happens and players make fan-favorite moments. Yet the field is also part of the game’s infrastructure, and just as important as what occurs on top is what lies below.
CEI Boston Construction Services received the bid in January 2015 to construct the 10,000-square-foot Optum Field Lounge for Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., home to the New England Patriots. To make room for the new addition, CEI needed to relocate the control system for the turf-heating system. It also needed a new vault to house the valve that feeds the glycol solution (similar to antifreeze) to the tubing under the field that ensures an ideal playing surface year round.
According to Tim Walsh, project manager at CEI Boston, the original plan was to use cast-in-place concrete to construct the vault. Time constraints, however, led them to seek an alternative material they could install in just one week – precast concrete.
Greg Stratis, manager of Shea Concrete Products in Amesbury, Mass., said the staff was excited to receive the call to help since the exact vault was already in stock and ready for delivery. He said CEI needed a vault with a valve chamber large enough to gain access to the 12 glycol valves controlling four-inch and six-inch piping.
“CEI had a short window for the project and since the vault was being placed right next to the field, they had a limited area to work with,” Stratis said. “Actually, the exact size needed was unknown until they started digging. Originally, they were hoping to put a vault in with more headroom, but hit ledge rock and decided to go with a shorter interior height.”
The vault CEI used is part of Shea Concrete’s standard product line. The vault is 7 feet wide, 16 feet long and 4 feet high. Shea stacks sections on top of each other to create different heights. The company manufactures about 10 different sized vault pieces.
Installation went smoothly since the design of the field allowed crews direct access to the delivery location.
“It’s always exciting to have a project that is not the norm, especially if the project is for a celebrity or in this case, the New England Patriots,” Stratis said. “There are a lot of fans at Shea and even today, they are still talking about delivering the product to Gillette Stadium.”