With more than 13,000 high schools playing 11-man football nationwide, many aging stadiums are receiving major facelifts designed to preserve the nostalgia of the original design while incorporating fan friendly amenities found in modern sports venues. At the 55-year-old Dormont Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Memorial Stadium in New Kensington, Pa., major renovation projects included replacing lead-based paint that had accumulated over decades with new protective metal primers and finishes that left school officials and students cheering.
Certified lead abatement contractor Rick Shields of ARS has seen steady growth in stadium renovation work in Pennsylvania over the past 10 years. “This is turning out to be a very big market because renovating an existing stadium is more cost efficient than tearing down a stadium and building a new structure,” according to Shields.
“One architect said it would be two to three times more expensive to tear down and build a new stadium than to renovate an existing one.”
Both the Dormont and Memorial stadiums, which are more than 50 years old, had accumulated several coats of lead paint that required special precautions during removal by ARS. “Anytime you’re removing lead you have to contain the area so none of the dust gets into the environment,” Shields noted. “What we used was high-pressure water at 40,000 psi to blast off the old paint. That way the dust is captured in the water and the only thing we had to do was to collect the contaminated water and paint chips.”
Water blasting was followed by sandblasting to provide a profile for priming with Series 594 Omnithane, a MIO/zinc-filled urethane primer. A polyamide epoxy, Series 66 Hi-Build Epoxoline, was used as the intermediate coat for Memorial Stadium and Series N69 Hi-Build Epoxoline II, a polyamidoamine epoxy, for Dormont Stadium. An ultra hard urethane topcoat, Series 290 CRU, was applied at both stadiums. At Dormont Stadium, three different colors of Series 290 were used.
The coatings were applied using airless spray equipment on the decking and seating supports at both stadiums. “We’ve been in the renovation industry for 26 years and we haven’t had any problems using Tnemec products,” Shields said. “These products seem to last a very long time, which is cost efficient for the owners and good for us.”
Once the work was finished, both stadiums appeared “brand new,” Shields reported. “Dormont Stadium tore down the visitor’s side and put up a new structure, but kept the old structure on the home side. And the home side looks better than the new structure they put up,” he added.