University Arena Renovation
IMEG provided engineering design services for the University of Cincinnati’s $82 million renovation of the Fifth Third Arena. Energy reductions and newer technologies included in the Department of Athletics project are expected to upgrade the nearly 30-year-old venue to LEED Silver status or greater.
Built in 1989, the multi-purpose center is used primarily for Division I basketball and has mostly collapsible seating systems and multiple practice and game courts. The interior and exterior renovation is driven by the need to enhance the game-day experience for students and fans — including better seating — as well as by the university’s desire to increase revenue generation.
Since the building’s major systems were near their expected end-of-service life, the design included all-encompassing upgrades to not only the fan seating options, but also to toilet rooms, concessions, suites and specialty club spaces, basic circulation, and HVAC, lighting, A/V and fire protection systems. Dated exteriors and stairwells, as well as inadequate concourses, were renovated in addition to the main seating bowl. The court was not re-oriented, as preliminary studies ruled out this option at the time.
The current structure consists of precast and site-cast concrete and steel framing with masonry, precast and curtain wall exteriors. Steel long-span roof trusses house mechanical equipment, which also was replaced as part of the renovation.
IMEG provided MEP, fire protection and technology design along with audio/visual and acoustics services.
An accelerated, 20-month construction schedule required the basketball team to vacate the arena for just one season. To accommodate the accelerated construction schedule, the project was divided into two construction phases, with the first construction phase occurring during the 2016 basketball off season. All work completed during Phase I did not affect the 2016-2017 basketball season played in the building.