Final piece, South End Zone project completes Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium at Campbell-Williams Field
What was once an open bleacher area on the south side of the UT Austin stadium has become state-of-the-art, premium seating for Texas Athletics program supporters. The South End Zone project, completed in early fall 2021, included renovations such as adding new football coaches’ offices, views of downtown Austin for suite holders and club members and a unique Longhorn silhouette embedded into the structure itself.
According to Associate Director for Capital Project Management and Interim Director of Capital Planning and Construction (CPC) Michael Uyeda, Texas Athletics had a vision of “completing the (stadium) bowl” and the South End Zone project was the final piece of this decade-long vision. CPC has worked on just about every part of this stadium, so finally completing the project in time for the first 2021 season football game after breaking ground on the South End Zone in 2018 was a huge accomplishment. It reflects the teamwork, one of FAS’ core values, that every unit puts into collaborative projects.
“We’re very grateful to all the departments who provided support,” Uyeda said.
Bigger projects like this one require larger teams made up of units from across the FAS portfolio. For this project, Facilities Services, Utilities and Energy Management (UEM), Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), Fire Prevention Services (FPS) and Project Management and Construction Services (PMCS) were also involved.
After being assigned a project, CPC manages design and construction. CPC’s partner unit, PMCS, also helps to manage projects and steps in during final stages to provide “make ready” support like supplementing contractor staff, cleaning and moving furniture and people in. EHS was involved in the project from planning to completion.
According to Associate Director of Environmental Programs with Environmental Health and Safety Nena Anderson, before construction could begin, EHS conducted a thorough, detailed review of project plans and provided feedback and solutions. Among many responsibilities, EHS’ review covered general health and safety issues, approval for the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and pick-up and management of hazardous waste during construction, Anderson said.
After construction, additional review of the build was done to ensure the safety of staff, athletes and visitors alike. From testing for hazardous materials and air quality to reviewing food permits and taking steps to ensure wildlife do not enter the area, the South End Zone project has been thought out and at every level.
“For this particular project the food establishment permits were of utmost importance before the first football game,” Anderson said “EHS staff worked diligently during the day and after hours with the campus partners and contractors to ensure food establishments were safe and regulatorily permitted.” .
As with any large undertaking, there were some obstacles to overcome. In particular, the pandemic and weather presented issues for teams to navigate. Supply chain problems and labor shortages on top of February 2021’s freeze, which caused water damage from leaks and burst pipes, were some of the hurdles all the FAS units mentioned above had to overcome.
Thankfully, all units involved in this endeavor held true to FAS’ core values.
“There are so many resources available to everyone at FAS,” Uyeda said. “All departments that we work with are always willing to help. Everybody came together to make this project happen. The duration of the project was so tight and to have all these things happen to you and still open on time was amazing.”