Nationals Park was Washington, D.C.’s most anticipated construction project in 2008. The completion of the ballpark, on time and on budget, is notable because of its expedited design-build construction schedule, use of innovative technology, local worker and business partnerships, and LEED Silver certification. The facility was designed and built in just 23 months.
Clark, in a joint venture agreement, was tasked with completing National Park in 23 months and meeting aggressive goals for minority hiring and subcontractor participation. Not originally intended to be a design-build project, the expedited construction schedule necessitated the collaboration. Unlike many other design-build projects, construction began during the schematic design phase. This required continual, on-site collaboration with the design team and subcontractors and taking advantage of BIM.
Throughout design and construction, Nationals Park remained in the public eye. As the home of Washington’s new baseball team, and financed through public money, residents and businesses had a high interest in the project’s progress. A public website featured web cam photographs updated every 20 minutes, and a quarterly project newsletter kept the community abreast of construction progress and milestones. The high-profile project was consistently featured in the media, in the sports pages, and on local television. The grand opening of the ballpark was nothing short of victorious — not just for the home team, but for the city of Washington, D.C.
Clark Concrete performed the cast-in-place concrete work at Nationals Park. The project’s aggressive schedule dictated that Clark Concrete work with the ballpark’s structural designer in a design/assist capacity to complete the design as work in the field progressed. During the project’s early stages, design changes were often made just before work was put into place. Clark Concrete’s forming crews incorporated changes or additions to the project’s design with little or no advance warning. In total, craftsmen poured 75,000 cubic yards of concrete and laid 6,000 tons of rebar at the ballpark. During the height of construction, as many as 13 mobile crane booms worked side by side in the stadium’s bowl. Clark Concrete’s creative approach to problem solving helped them successfully overcome each obstacle they confronted and deliver their work on schedule.
Clark also self-performed the foundations consisting of concrete bearing piles, pile caps, and grade beams.
The U.S. Green Building Council awarded Nationals Park LEED Silver certification, making it the first professional ballpark or stadium to earn certification.
Incorporating sustainable concepts and elements into every facet of Nationals Park was a project goal from the outset. One of the most notable elements is National Park’s groundwater and stormwater filtration system. Given the facility’s proximity to the Anacostia River, the architecture and engineering team took great care to design a system that treats both groundwater and stormwater runoff. This filtration system also separates water used for cleaning from rainwater and treats both sources of water before releasing them to sanitary and stormwater systems.
Additional sustainable features at the facility include: a 6,300 square-foot green roof; low-flow fixtures and dual flush toilets to reduce potable water usage by 37 percent; refrigerants and HVAC that minimize or eliminate the emission of compounds that contribute to ozone depletion and global warming; and air-cooled chillers, rather than water-cooled chillers, to save almost five million gallons of water per year. During construction, the project team removed 350,000 cubic yards of dirt, more than half of which was contaminated and brought to Soil Safe for remediation, and diverted 83 percent of construction waste from landfills.
Using BIM, Clark eliminated the traditional lead time between ordering steel, manufacturing, and its arrival on-site to meet the needs of the construction schedule. This allowed the Team to secure a contract for the steel at a competitive price in a volatile market.
Giving Back to the Community
Located in the near-Southeast neighborhood of Washington, D.C., Nationals Park is serving as a catalyst for redevelopment in the surrounding area. Once home to the Washington Navy Yard and a mixture of industrial sites and dilapidated buildings, the community surrounding the ballpark is now buzzing with new construction of retail, residences, and offices.
During construction, the project team employed a full-time community relations manager. One of the most engaging outreach efforts was partnering with the ACE Mentoring Program. Every other week, 20 students from nearby Anacostia High School visited the ballpark site, learned the intricacies of construction management, and took site tours to see project progress and how the various trades interacted.