University of Cincinnati Sheakley Athletics Center
The University of Cincinnati Sheakley Athletics Center consists of two football fields, including a 50-yard field and a 100-yard field. The 100-yard field accommodates an air-supported “bubble” that maintains an interior temperature of 50-60 degrees, allowing the football team to practice indoors from November to February. A 1,200 capacity seating area, press box, team meeting space, concession stands, scoreboard and restrooms surround the 100-yard field.
Systems included in the design were athletic field lighting along with interior air structure lighting. Landscape and accent lighting along the highly visible portion of the practice facility on Jefferson Avenue were also included. New electrical services were tied into the adjacent UC Baseball Stadium. This required a special engineering emphasis on not damaging this existing but relatively new baseball stadium. Plumbing systems were also designed to provide water and gas systems to the field. These systems provide water to be used for player consumption and misting systems as well as gas for heating of the dome inflation system.
One of the most challenging portions of this project was related to the mechanical system air distribution. Underground ventilation distribution systems were designed using ‘off the shelf’ type storm drainage to keep costs down but still allow the inflation of the dome to occur completely underground. All systems were designed using exterior grade materials, but accommodations were made to enclose all equipment in a future phase within the footprint of a new bleacher and plaza areas.