Abilene Christian Revamps Historic Sports Venue

By Eric Althoff

ABILENE, Texas—Since opening in 1968, Abilene Christian University’s Moody Coliseum has been home to various sporting activities for this university located in Central Texas. Moody Coliseum provides the home floor for the school’s Division 1 teams, as well as a venue for graduations, concerts, campus-wide worship services and various other events for the university.

Hoar Construction, in conjunction with sports architect HOK embarked on a $39 million renovation of the 153,000-square-foot venue in order to return the well-known “Moody Magic” to the coliseum, which has diminished after over a half-century of use. The campaign, launched two years ago, called for a “pull planning” construction plan. This allowed for the early design of several components of the projects at the same time that work on the exterior field was also underway.

The phased approach to the work allowed for the saving of time in the overall construction timeline. The work had to be completed on a brisk 12-month schedule, which was not flexible given athletic schedules that were already set several years prior.

In addition to ongoing supply chain issues that have plagued the entire construction industry, the project partners also had to deal with hurricanes, asbestos abatement and floor load limitations. However, through various collaboration efforts, the team was able to still stay on the requisite delivery schedule.

Hoar and its partners were also able to save money in multiple ways on the project. The team shaved more than $400,000 from the budget thanks to working with the steel and engineering teams to develop design documents in real time, which allowed for the procurement and delivery of steel for the coliseum refurbishment faster than otherwise might have been possible.

HOK also envisioned a new facade for the outside of the venue. Their design called for adding two three-story towers, which are home to office space for athletic personnel. The architect also updated the interior by adding larger seats that also provided additional legroom for patrons.

Hoar and the engineering teams were also tasked with overhauling the smoke evacuation system in case of an emergency. This helped save an additional $300,000 on the eventual project budget.

“This project is a true testament to the power of effective pull planning and preconstruction practices in cutting both time and cost for client success,” said Grant Pallan, project executive at Hoar. “We were up against a tight timeline to ensure this renovation was completed by the start of the school year at a standard that students deserved.

“Given the ongoing supply chain issues, this project would not have been completed as smoothly as it was had our teams not utilized pull planning to its full potential.”