The Green Bay Packers’ historic Lambeau Field is hallowed ground in football, sold out since 1960, with an 88,000-person waiting list for season tickets to the stadium. The Packers’ home field advantage is the envy of the National Football League, and now contractors from the Packers’ home are a part of that special magic.
The $143 million Lambeau Field stadium expansion project has been under way since 2011, and the organization enlisted businesses from its own backyard to complete the job.
In the past year, the project has incorporated a new entrance, new speakers, two new high-definition video boards, and a viewing platform under the scoreboard in the north end zone. Over the next year, work will focus on the south end zone, adding 6,700 new outdoor seats and a new entrance.
Serving as general contractor on the project is Miron Construction of Neenah. Miron served as the major subcontractor on the previous renovation project in 2003, experience that set the company apart.
“A real key was making sure the entire project didn’t change the ambiance or the look and feel of Lambeau Field,” says Mark Murphy, Green Bay Packers president and CEO. “What we wanted, especially with the south end zone, was when people walk in to look at it and say, ‘It’s always been there.’ That’s a challenge, and that’s where Miron, particularly with their knowledge of the stadium and the work that they did in 2003, is really helpful.”
The structural steel portion of the south end zone is complete, along with the majority of the concrete work. Matching the metal wall panels and the brick to the previous renovation, now nearly 10 years old, meant careful sample selection, says Miron project executive John Murphy (no relation to Mark Murphy). “If you notice on the north, you can’t even tell that we added on. The panels on the north are pretty much dead-on, an exact match.”
While the previous renovation used lightweight concrete, getting the material 150 feet in the air presented a new challenge. Part of the new seating area in the south end zone overhangs from the main structure, requiring a lightweight concrete blend.
“You think about that job site, and how you get concrete up there. There’s only two different ways, by crane via bucket, or pump,” says John Murphy. “As we researched it, we couldn’t find anybody that had pumped it. Through different experts, some of our local suppliers, we came up with a mix that we could run through a pump. That was a feat on this project, because there are some areas that you can’t reach by crane.”
He says, “We had our local supplier, Carew, help out. They supplied a portion of the concrete on the job. They were searching along with the architect and structural engineer on the job, [for] who has pumped something similar, what works. We tried different test pumps, and finally came up with a mix that would work.”
John Carew, president of Carew Concrete & Supply Co. of Appleton, says the mix required a lightweight aggregate from Louisiana, which was soaked in specially designed pits at their site to keep the porous material from soaking up water in the mix and making it difficult to pump. A second material, a synthetic bead-like product, came from Pennsylvania.
“By using these types of specialty products, we were able to develop this very lightweight type of concrete, which was easily pumpable, and was very lightweight to use for this project,” he says. “We’re all pretty proud, and we worked real closely with Miron and the engineers to develop this type of specialty concrete.”
Of course, most job sites don’t have 70,000 visitors. Protecting the fan experience required careful planning with the Packers and project manager Hammes Company Sports Development of Madison.
“That was months of planning, going through and saying, ‘What’s going to work? How are the fans going to react? Which areas can we not be constructing during or near game time?’” says John Murphy. “We always keep in mind what’s the best and safest facility for the fans.”
The community support for the Packers team is legendary, but that support goes both ways. According to the Packers organization, 1,600 workers will be employed over the next two years, earning more than $70 million in wages. Of the $62 million spent through August, excluding the scoreboard, 92.5 percent has been to companies in Wisconsin, 68.3 percent in Northeastern Wisconsin, and 42.5 percent in Brown County.
And while employing local businesses is good business, quality workmanship is required on this job, and that’s what Miron and the Packers organization found here at home.
“It was one of the things to try and keep the locals employed, the people that go to the games, that do business in the area, Brown County, or surrounding counties, but you also have to [consider] who is actually experienced, who can handle the work,” says John Murphy.
From the ironworker to the concrete pourer, Packer pride in the project is evident.
“I think the pride that everybody that’s employed by Miron, including all the subcontractors that they hire, they take great pride in the work they’re doing and they want to make sure that they’re leaving Lambeau Field better than when this work started,” says Mark Murphy.
John Murphy agrees. “For a lot of us that don’t play sports anymore, it’s kind of like your Super Bowl in your career,” he says. “It’s just a proud feeling, that, ‘I was a part of history. I was a part of that project.’”
A CLOSER LOOK
The Green Bay Packers organization and Miron Construction have enlisted the help of the following New North subcontractors:
»JF Ahern (fire protection), Appleton
»IEI General Contractors (concrete), De Pere
»Wm. A. Hein Construction (masonry), De Pere
»Tweet/Garot Mechanical (plumbing/heating), Green Bay
»Reeke-Marold (plumbing/heating), Green Bay
»VDH Electric, Inc. (electric and data), Green Bay
»Ostrenga Excavating, Inc. (excavation), Green Bay
»Northeast Asphalt, Inc. (asphalt), Green Bay
»Wayne’s Caulking, Inc. (caulking), Green Bay
»DeKeyser Construction (site utilities), Green Bay
»Martin Security Systems, Inc. (security cameras), Green Bay
»Northern Metal & Roofing (roofing), Green Bay
»HJ Martin & Son, Inc. (curtainwall, glazing, interior glass, ceiling, flooring, tile), Green Bay
»Insulators, Inc. (elevator fireproofing), Green Bay
»Mavid Construction Services (steel studs & drywall), Green Bay
»Northern Metal & Roofing (roofing), Green Bay
»Klein-Dickert Co., Inc. (painting, wall covering), Green Bay
»Martell Construction (exterior improvements, site concrete), Green Bay
»Otis Elevator (elevators and escalators), Kaukauna
»Appleton Lathing Corporation (finishes), Neenah
»Central Restoration, LLC (traffic coatings), Oakfield
»Muza Sheet Metal (metal panels), Oshkosh
»Hillside Damproofing (firestopping, waterproofing), Franksville
»ICP, Inc. (architectural precast concrete), Germantown
»Thomas A Mason Co., Inc. (painting), Milwaukee
»Midwest Stairs & Iron (miscellaneous metals), Milwaukee
»Nimsgern Steel Corp. (miscellaneous metals), Minocqua
»J.F. Cook Co., Inc. (coiling overhead doors), Oak Creek
»Merrill Iron & Steel (structural steel supply), Schofield
»Boelter Companies (food service equipment), Waukesha
»Nations Roof North LLC (metal wall panels), Waukesha
»Dataline Services, Inc. (security camera wiring), Wauwatosa
»G&L Associates (metal wall panels), Des Plaines, Ill.
»ASC Fireproofing, Inc. (spray fireproofing & insulation), Elgin, Ill.
»Irwin Seating Company (seating), Grand Rapids, Mich.
»Overhead Door Co. (overhead doors), Lewisville, Texas