Adding on to a stadium that wasn’t designed to support additional structure presents a number of challenges. Building it without disrupting the football season and in an extremely small, 105-foot-wide footprint, is even more complicated. But that’s what the University of Arizona (UA) needed to upgrade Arizona Stadium with a four-story skybox, called the UA Scholarship Suites.
The new structure was built as close as possible to the existing stadium without touching it by suspending the skyboxes from four, 19-foot-diameter, 100,000-pound concrete shafts, each cantilevered from a foundation consisting of a five-caisson group with large pile caps. The 156-foot-tall shafts are topped with twin cantilever beams, from which the four levels of the sky box are suspended.
Building the concrete shafts was the most complicated part of the project. But by utilizing concrete technology pioneered by Sundt on high-rise towers, the team was able to achieve schedule efficiency and cost savings while minimizing disruptions. That was crucial, as the construction schedule was compressed at both ends. Demolition began after the last football game of the 1988 season on November 26 and construction completed in time for the first home game of the 1989 season on September 2, which was televised before a national audience as ESPN’s first game of the season.
The four-story skybox put Arizona Stadium in first-class company with 319 loge seats, 22 suites, a President’s Box and a new media center, making it among the elite facilities in the Pacific Athletic Conference.
University of Arizona