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Closing the Dome: ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center Ready For Renovations

kibbie plans

As the lights went out after the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center, a new chapter for the Dome starts Monday as the next phase of life safety improvements and game day/event enhancements begin.

The Dome will officially close down for public use beginning March 7 and will not reopen until the start of the fall football season. Unlike the earlier phase of life safety improvements that saw the installation of a new west wall – where partial use of the Dome was maintained during construction -- the Dome will be closed to the public and staff this spring and summer.

“We’re going to be really busy this year,” says Guy Esser, project manager with the University’s architectural and engineering services team.. “The east wall, the north and south concourses, seating areas, and the Dome floor will all be heavily impacted by construction activities.”

The second phase of the life safety project, publicly funded, focuses on the demolition and reconstruction of the east wall. The project will take out the old wall -- which is made of combustible wood material -- and replace it with vertical steel trusses and translucent panels that meet the code requirements for non-combustible construction. The east wall materials and its look will match the west wall that was replaced in phase I.

“We’re reconstructing it with safety and code compliance in mind, but it will also be much more energy efficient and allow more light into the building,” says Esser.

In preparation of the construction, a few staff members will have had offices relocated out of the construction zone, including the maintenance staff. Esser says the Vandal Athletic Center will remain open throughout construction, but overhead construction may cause temporary staff relocations.

While demolition of the east wall is scheduled to begin on Friday, April1, the first major closure of Rayburn Street, from the Perimeter Drive/Nez Perce intersection to just above the swim center parking lot will occur March 21 – 25. The area will be used for delivery and laying out of structural steel wall shipments. Esser says there may be further closures of Rayburn in April or early May, but the week in March is the largest expected closure.

In addition to the life safety improvements, game day/event enhancements will continue through the spring and summer. These enhancements are funded privately.

The work focuses on a new press box on the north side of the Dome, and premium suites and new club seating on the south side. The project will not increase the total number of seats within the Dome, but will create an upgraded club seating area and premium suites. The plan is to extend the floor of the current press box to create a new upper club area, which will include food and beverage service as well as new restrooms and other amenities. Access to the new upper club area will be restricted to those who purchase premium seating and suites. The new upper club level will also feature a row of loge seating boxes along the field side edge.

“The Dome is a campus icon and this project will enable the university to better serve our fans and visitors. The Vandal experience is special and an improved dome will add an important element to that distinctiveness,” says Chris Murray, vice president for advancement.

Work has already started on the enhancements. Esser reports a majority of the asbestos abatement and electrical demolition has been done, though with the Dome in use until this past weekend, some abatement work still needs to be finished. Demolition to the south side areas will begin mid-March.

The University is working with Walsh Construction Co. on the Kibbie Dome life safety upgrades project and with Boise- based McAlvain Construction for the Kibbie seating enhancements/press box project. OPSIS Architecture is providing architectural design services for both projects.

Next to the Dome, the Dan O’Brien track is getting ready for some improvements as well. Work on the 1970s-vintage complex includes correction of surface and subsurface water issues by improving the surface and subsurface drainage systems; renovating and rebuilding the asphaltic concrete base at both the track and the field event ramps and approaches; resurfacing of the track and field event ramps and approaches with a contemporary;, and state-of-the-art synthetic track surface. The project also will include other improvements and renovations to associated systems and other spectator facilities as funding allows.

The new track will get high-profile use in 2012 when the University hosts the Western Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Esser adds that bids will be opened for the track renovation project on March 15. He expects construction activity there to begin in early May.