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Vegas Stadium Costs Come in Under Budget

Friday, December 11, 2020

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The Las Vegas Stadium Authority has approved the $25.1 million reduction of the final construction budget for Allegiant Stadium. While the stadium itself was deemed complete in August, construction on the 63-acre site is still ongoing.

Officials have said that the work is set to come in under budget, which prompted the reduction approval this week.

The final budget now totals $1.944 billion, plus the $49.2 million in work paid for by third parties, making the final cost for the stadium $1.99 billion. At one point the project budget had increased to $2.02 billion when upgrades were made to the design of club suites.

However, costs on the project were controlled better than estimated, therefore reductions could be made.

Authority board members applauded the cost reduction as they looked to overruns in other similar projects as well as the challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Project Background

In January of last year, officials with the project announced that the stadium was one-third complete and on budget, adding that policies were put in place for the venue’s massive grass tray system and diversity performance goals were well-exceeded by contractors.

Mortenson Construction and McCarthy Building Cos., head contractors on the project, had reportedly exceeded the percentage of women and minority workers that’s required by law.

Jason O'Rear

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority has approved the $25.1 million reduction of the final construction budget for Allegiant Stadium. While the stadium itself was deemed complete in August, construction on the 63-acre site is still ongoing.

According to the Benefits Oversight Committee, at the time, small business enterprise participation was already at 19%, which exceeded the goal of 15%, with $159 million of the $843 million in subcontracts awarded to firms that qualify as small business. In addition, 14 women-owned firms at the time received contracts and 72% of those are Nevada-based businesses.

A safety plan was also OK’d for the stadium’s 9,500-ton, movable natural grass field that will be moved onto the stadium floor from outside before every game.

The 4-foot-deep tray, is loaded with grass, sand, gravel and irrigation and drainage components, and rolls in on 13 rails through a 14-by-240-foot opening in the stadium. Powered by 76 electric motors, the move takes about 90 minutes. (Arizona’s State Farm stadium also uses this feature.)

Prior to that, a big update for the project came in October 2018, when officials announced that workers had begun installing the 52 truss columns at the site.

The 52 steel beams frame the exterior 65,000-seat indoor stadium and hold up its translucent polymer roof, which rises about 200 feet. The columns weigh about 65 tons each.

“In order for it to hold up the roof and hold up the enormous ring beam that ties those stainless steel cables that support the ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, a fluorine-based polymer) roof, all of that is highly, highly precise,” Don Webb, Chief Operating Officer of the Raiders’ construction subsidiary StadCo, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Other design elements include:

  • Translucent stadium components around the building envelope that give the stadium a black appearance during the day but allow the inside lights to be visible from the outside at night;
  • Envelope ribbons that serve as ventilation and drain water from the roof; and
  • The north end of the stadium features folding 80-by-120-foot lanai doors that open to a view of the Las Vegas Strip.

In February of last year, PPG announced that it inked a multi-year corporate marketing agreement with the Raiders team. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the agreement did include that protective and decorative coatings from PPG be featured in the new stadium.

In July 2019, officials announced that $40 million in additions were approved, raising the overall budget to $1.9 billion. The additions included 20 more suites and a field-level club area.

At that point, $944.7 million had been spent on the project.

In September, officials reported on the measures being taken to secure the structure against earthquakes. The Review-Journal reports that the stadium was built with “earthquake-friendly columns and bearings” attaching the roof to the main concourse.

The columns and bearings have about a 3-inch give side to side, 4 inches vertically and 1 inch front to back.

Throughout construction, the roof remained a near-constant variable. Assembly of the net on the floor of the stadium began in August of last year, with the cables measuring about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter and some 800 feet long, weighing as much as 24 tons.

The roof raising reportedly began in October, and it was during the progress report in November that an installation delay came to light.

“As the stainless steel cabling grid was being hoisted into place and attached to the circumferential compression ring formed by the steel canopy roof, one of the connections was overstressed and resulted in a handful of bolts holding one of the more than 100 joints in the lower portion of that canopy to break,” Webb said at the authority meeting earlier this month.

“Bear in mind that we’re talking about a handful of bolts that has more than a half-million similar bolts. No one was injured, and the structure was never in jeopardy of failure.”

Webb said that five engineering firms analyzed the issue and determined that there were no defects, though crews made an effort to replace 1,700 similar bolts despite those holding without incident.

At the time, the project as a whole wass reportedly 80% complete at the beginning of the year and work resumed on the roof on Jan. 12—the process was modified to use additional cranes.

The Completion

In total, Mortenson-McCarthy led a team of more than 200 firms including engineers, subconsultants, trade contractors and vendors and partnered with designer MANICA Architecture, and the project’s design team which includes architect HNTB, and engineers Arup, Smith Seckman Reid, Inc. and Kimley Horn.

In total, the project exceeded all small and diverse business goals, with 23% awarded to small businesses and 62% of the workforce being minority and women.

In addition to that, 70% of all firms involved on the project were Nevada-based companies and, according to officials, more than six million labor hours went in to constructing the project and an estimated 6,000 recurring jobs will be sustained or created to maintain venue operations.

Construction being able to continue throughout the year despite other projects being shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic was paramount to completion, though, in June, more than 30 workers on the site tested positive for the coronavirus.

That led to the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration dishing a $13,494 fine, which Mortenson-McCarthy formally contested.

In October, PPG, which announced its partnership with the Raiders in 2019, released the coatings that were used for the structure.


Tagged categories: Budget; Completed projects; Good Technical Practice; NA; North America; Stadiums/Sports Facilities

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