raSmith, a multi-disciplined civil and structural engineering and surveying firm, has received state and national structural engineering excellence awards from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). Both awards honor the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Camp Randall Stadium South End Zone.
The ACEC Wisconsin Chapter awarded raSmith a Best of State Engineering Excellence award for the UW–Madison project. raSmith was then invited to submit the project for recognition by the national ACEC organization. Camp Randall Stadium was recognized again, this time with a National Recognition Award for Engineering Excellence.
Camp Randall Stadium’s South End Zone Transformation Takes Game-Day Experience to New Heights
The University of Wisconsin-Madison transformed the South End Zone of Camp Randall Stadium (home of the Wisconsin Badgers) into a premium area with seating for 2,300; access to indoor and outdoor hospitality clubs; climate-controlled amenities; expanded premium food and beverage offerings; dedicated restrooms; and a terrace that connects with and provides views into the adjoining UW Field House, which is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The newly designed space provides a unique area that maximizes the game-day experience for corporations and Badgers fans, while preserving the character of the stadium and the historic Field House. raSmith (structural engineers), Berners Schober (architects), HOK (architects), and JP Cullen (general contractor) worked together to successfully complete this $70 million project within the Owner’s desired nine-month timeframe during the Badgers football off-season. The new space was ready for use at the Badgers first home football game on September 3, 2022.
raSmith’s Structural Engineers Deliver Key Details for Camp Randall Stadium’s South End Zone Project
The overall structural design of the South End Zone addressed the requirements of connecting new steel to an existing precast framing element; implementing and integrating multiple expansion joints to allow for independent movement of the building from a wide range of ambient temperature changes; and providing a double protection system at all exterior walking surfaces in order to withstand the heavy amount of precipitation (especially snow) that is typical in Wisconsin.
raSmith’s structural engineers designed and detailed how to transfer an approximately 400,000-pound load from system self-weight and the capacity of patrons sitting in the South End Zone without impacting the structural integrity of the existing columns. This was possibly one of the most critical details (beam to precast column connection) of the project.
Another structural detail of the project was establishing a connection to the historic UW Field House where athletes participate in wrestling, volleyball, and other sports. A new platform was added to the Field House to provide this connection and direct views into the Field House from this newly updated space in the South End Zone. To accommodate this platform, expansion joints were added at both ends of the addition to allow for building movement when temperature changes occur.
External walkable surfaces with internal occupied spaces were required to have two levels of water protection. raSmith’s structural engineers implemented variations of systems including surface membrane (a thin flexible surface that acts as a water barrier) over a topping slab on a sheet waterproofing product on top of the structural slab or a surface membrane applied directly to the structural slab with a metal decking system below the structural slab to collect any water and route it to a drain.
South End Zone Renovation Brings Modern Touches to Historic Camp Randall Stadium
The South End Zone project at Camp Randall Stadium brings value to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the city of Madison by improving the game-day experience for many as well as attracting additional fans and visitors to this unique and inviting space. Fans can “Jump Around” in the new loge seating between the third and fourth quarters as part of the best college stadium tradition in football or stay for “The Fifth Quarter” when the marching band performs several popular songs. The South End Zone project is the first major renovation to the 107-year-old stadium since 2005 and the first design-build project that the State of Wisconsin Division of Facilities Development has completed.