March 28, 2008
Press Releases & News

Nationals Park Ready For Opening Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Clark/Hunt/Smoot, A Joint Venture, has completed construction of Nationals Park, the new home of the Washington Nationals, in time for the team to open its 2008 season this weekend. The 41,000-plus seat ballpark was designed and built in just 23 months, a record for the construction of a major league ballpark. Clark/Hunt/Smoot broke ground on the one-million square-foot facility on May 4, 2006. The construction schedule was among the fastest for a project of this size and scope. The project was delivered on time and on budget. It also overcame a number of challenges and achieved a number of “firsts” in the design and construction of a major sports facility, including becoming the first stadium to achieve LEED® certification for its environmentally friendly design. In addition, the Ballpark project has created significant opportunities for local residents and businesses. The joint venture, acting as design-builder, was led by Clark Construction Group with project partners Hunt Construction Group, and Smoot Construction Company. Helmuth Obata & Kassabaum of Kansas City and Devrouax & Purnell of Washington, D.C. led the design team.

A Successful Fast-Track Design/Build Project Using 3D Software

The construction of Nationals Park presented many unique challenges, none more notable than the expedited construction schedule. To ensure completion by Opening Day 2008, the Ballpark was structured as a fast-track design/build project, meaning the structure was still being designed as construction was taking place. Unlike many other design-build projects, however, construction began during the schematic design phase, one of the earliest stages of design. By using three-dimensional (3D) Building Information Modeling (BIM) software linked to the project schedule, the project team was able to plan, design, and accurately estimate the steel required for the ballpark’s skeletal frame. Faced with a market of escalating steel prices, the project team was able to lock in lower rates and expedite the construction schedule. The steel structure was pre-fabricated at the mill, and the sections of steel frame were delivered “just-in-time” to the project site. Once on site, they were erected and assembled readily and with very little waste - saving the project both time and money.

The First “Green” Ballpark - Nationals Park Achieves a LEED Silver Rating

Clark/Hunt/Smoot, A Joint Venture, worked actively with HOK Sport and local architecture firm Devroux & Purnell to make Nationals Park the first stadium to achieve environmental certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) under its “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)” Green Building Rating System. Nationals Park has achieved a LEED Silver rating by the USGBC. The Ballpark features numerous environmentally-friendly elements, including high-efficiency lighting, low-emitting finishes, highly recycled materials, low-flow plumbing fixtures and a 6,300-square-foot green roof located above a concession area beyond left field. Nationals Park also has an intricate groundwater and stormwater filtration system. Given the facility’s proximity to the Anacostia River, the architecture and engineering team took great care to design systems that treat both groundwater and stormwater runoff. The ballpark’s filtration system also separates water used for cleaning from rainwater and treats both sources of water before releasing them to sanitary and stormwater systems. Third-party commissioning of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems will ensure that all systems run at their most efficient, thereby saving energy and money. During construction, more than 80% of construction waste was diverted from landfills.

Ballpark Creates Significant Opportunities for Local Residents and Businesses

The District government set aggressive and unprecedented goals for the participation of DC residents as well as local, small, and disadvantaged businesses on the Ballpark project, including a goal of 50% participation by Certified Business Enterprises (CBE). Together, some 88 District-certified CBE firms have been awarded 50% of the total contracts for architecture, engineering, insurance, legal and construction services on the Ballpark. As of February, approximately $164 million has been paid out to CBE firms for their work on the Ballpark. The construction workforce included more than 900 Washington, D.C. residents, or 51% of all new hires. Of the 412 new apprentices hired as carpenters, electricians, bricklayers, sheet metal workers and other trades people, 351 were District residents. In all, 72% of all apprentice hours and 27% of all journey worker hours on the project were completed by District residents.

According to Gregory Colevas, Division President at Clark, “Working with the District agencies, we have made significant progress in utilizing the Ballpark project to establish a solid foundation of both CBE contractors at all levels and skilled DC resident workers across the different building trades. We have more work to do, but we’ve come a long way.” Clark/Hunt/Smoot put a full-time team in place to focus solely on outreach to CBE contractors and DC resident hiring. The joint venture also developed some creative approaches to meeting the District’s goals. For example, the joint venture established the “CBE Strategic Partner Program,” a 10-month management training program for CBE leaders. The program was established in conjunction with the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Approximately 35 executives and managers from some 26 different CBE companies graduated from the first year’s program in May 2007, and the second year’s class of 30 participants will graduate this June. According to Colevas, “We are pleased to be working with the District to build the size, scope and scale of the CBE contractors and skilled DC residents who will be part of the $8 to $12 billion in new construction that will occur in the city over the next five to 10 years.”

An Award-Winning Project

The ballpark construction has already earned several industry awards during the construction phase including Washington Building Congress Craftsmanship Awards for underpinning, foundations, and excavation; cast-in-place concrete; and structural steel.

Clark/Hunt/Smoot, A Joint Venture, is composed of Clark Construction Group, LLC of Bethesda, Md., Hunt Construction Group of Indianapolis and Smoot Construction Company of Washington, D.C.