Renovations are underway at the historic Wade Stadium in Duluth. Built in the WPA era, the stadium is a beloved local landmark and home of the Duluth Huskies baseball team. But Wade has been showing its age, with standing water issues, light spillage from stadium lighting and general deterioration. Last fall KA crews dug in to renovations that include site work for new turf, brick and masonry restoration, new concrete patios along each base line, new lighting and other improvements for the City of Duluth.
KA Duluth office Project Manager Andy Towner recently reported on the project’s progress.
Q: What work has been done so far?
Towner: Last fall we completed the replacement of the field from grass to Astroturf, installed all new LED stadium lights, completed all concrete patios, and railing. We also completed removal of the top three feet of brick walls on first and third base. Watch timelapse
Q: What, from your perspective, are the primary challenges of this project?
Towner: Schedule. We need to complete the work when the facility is not in use, so for the site work that meant when baseball season is over. We mobilized the last week of August, 2014. We had to get ready for Astroturf to install the new turf (which was owner contracted) prior to temps dropping below freezing. In looking at weather history for Duluth, we knew Astroturf had to be complete by Oct. 31, 2014. It was written in the front end that we had to give them 20 working days, so all the field prep had to be completed by the first week of October. With the help of our great subcontractors we were able to complete over $1 million in earthwork (Veit) and 300K of concrete (Home Menders Inc.) in a little over one month’s time. We didn’t have time to wait on answers or submittals. TKDA (Project Design Team) was very accommodating with submittal review and change management which helped the cause greatly. We had our Project Superintendent Lee Hauble on site, and with his leadership, we were able to meet all the deadlines. On top of that, we lucked out with 3.5 weeks straight of no rain. The existing sub-grade was clay, and if it had rained – we would have been put behind schedule.
Q: Talk about those 381,000 bricks that are in the stadium wall that came out of the old Grand Avenue pavement. Many are considered to be more than a century old. What are the concerns about their condition? How will you be addressing these concerns?
Towner: The bricks’ first use was on Grand Ave. In 1941, the bricks were removed from Grand Avenue and installed at Wade Stadium. As part of our project, we removed the top portion of the first- and third-base walls as they were starting to degrade. To date, 15,000 of these bricks have been cleaned and are going to be reused for the wall topping and tuckpointing repairs set to take place this spring/summer. Our masonry contractor (Bedrock Flint) noted that the bricks are more solid than any new brick produced today.
Q: Talk about the condition of the field and the new artificial turf and drainage system.
Towner: The existing field was always wet and soft which was not conducive for outfielders. Essentially, there was nowhere for the water to go. We installed a panelize drainage system in a grid pattern under the two layers of base course that the Astroturf field was placed on top of. Now, the water filters through the turf and these two layers into a drainage system which removes the water from the facility.
Q: What other improvements are being done to the facility?
Towner: The two big improvements were the field lighting and concrete patios. All the lighting is LED and some of the best offered from Musco Lighting. The second improvement is the concrete patio areas which parallel first and third base line. These patios can now be used for parties. Also, we added handicap ramps to allow for ADA accessibility to the field where none had existed before.
Q: Any shoutouts you want to give to some of the team?
Towner: Again, Veit, the earthwork contractor did $1 million in dirt work in about a month’s time. Without their drive and persistence, the project would not have been the success it was. Belknap (electrical contractor) did an excellent job with the front end paperwork and coordination with Musco Lighting to get all of the stadium lighting installed prior to the turf installation. TKDA, the design team’s willingness to work with us and push changes through allowed for no lost days of productivity due lack of information or approvals of paperwork.
Q: What’s left to be done?
Towner: This summer we will be installing three new courses of brick with a precast cap on both first and third base walls. We will also be tuckpointing and washing the first and third base walls.
Q: How will the remainder of construction coexist with the baseball season?
Towner: We will be doing restoration work this summer around the team’s schedule. Games are typically on the weekends and after 5pm. All scheduled games at Wade Stadium will still be played despite us being there and working.