NEW ORLEANS—Workers snapped into place the last major piece of new aluminum siding at the Louisiana Superdome today, completing the final Katrina-related renovation project funded by FEMA and giving the iconic facility a shiny new bronze exterior that mirrors its original color.
"Today marks another major milestone in the Superdome's history" says SMG Senior Vice President Doug Thornton. "This has been a very visible project on the city skyline, and with its completion we have restored a luster to the building comparable to when it was first built 35 years ago.
The architectural team on the project was a joint venture consisting of Trahan Architects, Sizeler Thompson Brown, and Billes Partners. Ellerbie Beckett served as a consultant to the architectural joint venture, and Gibbs Construction has been the general contractor.
Construction on the project cost a total of $19.6 million, with $12.9 million financed by the State of Louisiana, and an additional $6.7 million in matching funds was provided through the FEMA public assistance program.
Nearly 400,000-square-feet of aluminum was specifically researched, developed, tested and manufactured for the project. The new custom anodized light bronze exterior panels feature a fade-proof finish, measure 1-foot by 25-feet, and weigh approximately 27.5 lbs each. They were fabricated at Gibbs Construction, and the entire 220 tons of aluminum was processed by Ryerson Metals of St. Rose, La.
The outer wall features an innovative new barrier system that improves the facility's insulation and provides energy savings. The "Rainscreen" approach is based upon two separate and distinct barriers, or leafs, on the exterior building wall. The .05-inch outer leaf sheds and controls most of the rain water, allowing some penetration through open joinery.
The inner leaf performs the multiple functions of 1) final moisture barrier; 2) air/vapor barrier; 3) insulation; 4) existing building structural wall. It was sprayed with 60,000 gallons of yellow polyurethane foam insulation that was in turn treated with a black waterproof polyurea coating.
Thornton emphasized that while this is the last of the Katrina-related FEMA restoration projects, work continues on other improvements to the Dome, including a major renovation of the building's lower bowl that will add 3,100 sideline seats, and a widening of the Plaza Level concourse by 50 feet. New premium club lounges also will be added under the Plaza Level seating area. That work will get underway right after the 2010 football season.
These improvements, in addition to the 16 new 300-level suites and a new press box in the terrace, as well as the Champions Square development, are part of the $85 million deal to the keep the Saints in New Orleans through 2025.
For more information on the Louisiana Superdome, visit www.Superdome.com or call 504-587-3663.