East Carolina University’s (ECU’s) 2019 football season ushered in the beginning of a new era for Pirates fans at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The recently completed, $60 million, southside renovation added 1,000 premium seats in TowneBank Tower. All of the stadium’s entrances and façade systems were created with Tubelite Inc.’s doors, curtainwall, ribbon windows and storefront, and finished by Linetec using a combination of paint and anodize finishes.
Designed by architectural firm LS3P Associates Ltd. of Wilmington, North Carolina, the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium southside renovation project team involved AECOM and the joint venture general contractors of TA Loving Co. and Frank L. Blum Construction Co.
Early in the project’s development, Apogee Renovation consulted on high-performance glass, aluminum framing and window system solutions that included Tubelite’s products and Linetec’s finishes. The specified, extruded aluminum, finished products were installed by Jeffreys Aluminum Group, Inc. on the public façade that everyone sees, and on the interior glazing systems visible only to those inside of the stadium.
The exterior curtainwall, windows and entrance systems were finished by Linetec in a Class I clear anodize. Ideal for high-performance, weather-exposed building products, this finish presents a contemporary appearance that can withstand the heavy traffic of excited football fans and the extreme coastal weather that can hit ECU’s campus. Anodized aluminum resists the ravages of time, temperature, corrosion, humidity, warping, abrasions and wear. An integral part of the substrate, the anodize finish protects the structural integrity of the aluminum, adding to its long life cycle.
On the interior, framing systems provide views from TowneBank Tower to the field, as well as transparency and separation between the premium suites, loge level, press level and the main concourses. These storefront systems, also finished by Linetec, used a 70% PVDF resin-based architectural coating in a Sea Wolf light beige color. These high performance coatings exhibit outstanding resistance to humidity, color change, chalking, gloss loss and chemicals to ensure a long-lasting, durable finish that protects the aluminum, contributes to its low-maintenance longevity and meets the desired appearance.
In addition to the aesthetic and performance attributes of the finishes, Linetec also thermally improved Tubelite’s Therml=Block® Wide Stile Entrances and T14000 I/O Series Thermal storefront systems. This value-added service enhanced the metal framing members to help keep fans more comfortable in terms of temperature and noise, and to support the building’s overall condensation resistance and modern, energy efficiency.
The original stadium opened in 1963 and consisted of the permanent stands on the south side and a small press box. There had not been any additions on the southside of the facility since an updated press box was erected in 1978. The last significant construction project at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium was the 2010 completion of a 7,000-seat expansion in the east end zone that brought capacity to approximately 50,000.
J.J. McLamb, ECU senior associate athletic director, said the renovation and stadium expansion are a testament to the Pirate slogan, “All hands on deck,” as hundreds of workers – including many ECU alumni – have been involved in the planning, development and construction of the facility. The stadium’s grand opening was celebrated in mid-August 2018 at the beginning of the school year and football season.
The 93,000-square-foot TowneBank Tower rises nine stories and spans the top of the south-side seats between the 15-yard lines. It encompasses five founders suites, 19 standard suites, 22 loge boxes and 550 club seats. The top level of the tower also houses a new press box and game-day operations center.
Along with the TowneBank Tower, renovation of the Ward Sports Medicine Building also was part of the project scope. Expansions and modernizations were made to the Ward building’s football locker room, team meeting areas, athletics training headquarters and equipment room. A football team lounge also was added to the existing structure.
“It is state-of-the-art. It is a first-class facility. And I really look at it as a community asset because we will have a lot more things in this building other than football events,” Jon Gilbert, ECU’s director of athletics, told the North State Journal at a media tour. He also noted that the new facility “should enhance our gameday atmosphere and enhance our recruiting as well.” His optimism seems warranted as ECU already has signed 25 new players for the 2020 season.
East Carolina University (ECU), Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Southside renovation and expansion;
100 Ficklen Dr., Greenville, NC 27858; https://ecupirates.com/facilities
- Owner: East Carolina University; Greenville, North Carolina; https://www.ecu.edu
- Architect: LS3P Associates Ltd.; Wilmington, North Carolina; http://www.ls3p.com
- Associate architect: AECOM, https://www.aecom.com
- General contractor – joint venture:
- Glazing contractor: Jeffreys Aluminum Group, Inc.; Mebane, North Carolina
- Window, curtainwall, storefront and entrance systems – energy modeling strategist: Apogee Renovation; Minneapolis; https://www.apogeerenovation.com
- Window, curtainwall, storefront and entrance systems – manufacturer: Tubelite Inc.; Walker, Michigan; https://www.tubeliteinc.com
- Window, curtainwall, storefront and entrance systems – aluminum finishing: Linetec; Wausau, Wisconsin; https://linetec.com
- Photography: Farid Sani
- Video – construction time-lapse: https://app.oxblue.com/open/TALFLB/DFS-SSR
- Video –ECU game day video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDASG2H59Bg