Feb. 16, 2011
An audience of around 200 gathered in the Georgia Tech Alumni House Tuesday night to see and hear a highly informative, 2-1/2-hour look into the new Hank McCamish Pavilion, Tech’s new basketball facility which will replace the venerable Alexander Memorial Coliseum as the new home of Yellow Jackets’ basketball beginning with the 2012-13 season.
Former Tech basketball player David Coles and the Georgia Tech Business Network organized the event, which included a panel discussion and presentations by the people responsible for designing and building the new arena – Sachin Shailendra, president of SG Contracting; Dan Radakovich, director of athletics at Georgia Tech; Norman Friedman, associate principal at Populous, the architect for the project; and Trevor Pitt, the project manager from Whiting-Turner Contracting.
Radakovich’s presentation dealt in great detail with the financing for the project, and he gave the audience a feel for how the Athletic Association wanted the building to be designed, how it would look and feel to spectators not only inside the arena but on television, and some of the amenities and services the new arena would offer. He noted that the seating capacity of new arena would be around 8,800 and have approximately 1,600 to 1,700 seats in an upper level that would overlook the court. He also noted that the last row of seats in the upper level would be closer to the court than the seats in the current suites of the Coliseum.
Other notable items discussed included the location of the team benches, which will be on the opposite side of the court from their current locations, location of television cameras, and the Alexander Courtyard, which will honor the former Tech football coach and director of athletics for whom Alexander Memorial Coliseum is named.
Friedman went through the evolution of the design of the new design of the new building, how it was presented during the interview process as his company bid for the project, and how the design looks now. Included in his presentation were the orientation of the arena, the location of the main entrances, the look of the concourse, how the concourse around the arena would have a view of the court, all of which will be different from the current coliseum.
Pitt’s presentation included much of the nuts and bolts of the construction process, including a timeline for demolition of Alexander Memorial Coliseum (beginning in April of 2011) through the opening of the McCamish Pavilion (October of 2012). He showed how construction vehicles would enter the building, and provided a list of fun facts such as how much concrete and metal will be used and how many miles of railing would be installed. Only the roof support structure will remain from the Coliseum, and the copper roofing will be replaced by a different “membrane” substance.
The floor will remain at the same elevation of the current floor, which is just a few feet above the ground water table. He noted how old documents and photos of the footprint of the Coliseum showed that a river used to run through the land on which the Coliseum now sits, and the area was used as a landfill prior to the original construction.
Pitt also noted that more than 25 Georgia Tech alumni are currently involved in the team working on the new arena, and more would become involved as the project goes forward.
All of these discussions were accompanied by PowerPoint presentations, which you can view.
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A question-and-answer session followed that lasted approximately 30 minutes.