ERMCO was recently recognized by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) with a 2023 NECA Project Excellence Award in the “Technology and Low Voltage” category for our work on the Gainbridge Fieldhouse Phase 2 renovations project.
The NECA Project Excellence Award was established to showcase the exceptional work being performed by its members throughout the country. ERMCO was recognized along with this year’s other winners during NECA’s annual convention in Philadelphia last month.
IN 49 STATES IT’S JUST BASKETBALL BUT THIS IS INDIANA
In 2019, the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County, in partnership with Pacers Sports & Entertainment, embarked on the “Fieldhouse of the Future” project, which became the second most expensive stadium renovation in NBA history. By committing over $360 million, the Capital Improvement Board and Pacers Sports & Entertainment modernized the Fieldhouse into one of the NBA's flagship venues. Built over 20 years ago, the Fieldhouse serves as a basketball arena and entertainment venue in downtown Indianapolis. Renovations upgraded the overall guest experience, operational effectiveness, and provided additional security measures inside and outside the Fieldhouse.
ERMCO's scope for phase two of the renovations included low voltage cabling, some of which had been there since the building’s inception over 20 years ago. We were also responsible for adding over 70 broadcast cable boxes, 250 miles of data and power cabling, 300 security cameras, 500 monitors (each with an EP5 IPTV box), 700 wireless access points, and the technology required for the new cashless “Fast Break” grab-and-go markets. We did the rough-in for all of these systems as well. ERMCO's scope totaled over $8 million in upgrades to low-voltage technology, helping transform Gainbridge Fieldhouse into a worthy host for the 2024 NBA All-Star Game.
The COVID-19 Pandemic created several challenges, which included adjusting the construction schedule and limiting the number of people on site. The delay caused many of the data cables to be in use well past their average life span. When the project restarted, cable replacement was a priority. The ERMCO team was able to do so quickly, despite the limited manpower on site due to Covid protocols, by working two 10-hour shifts.
Second shift work continued as Gainbridge returned to its full event schedule. Our team was able to successfully finish the project on time according to the new post-pandemic schedule, even with the Fieldhouse operating year-round, with over 500 events annually.
The security system was upgraded with the installation of four Boomerang Shooter Detection systems. They provide improved safety and security measures inside and outside of the Fieldhouse.
Using seven microphones, it is able to precisely determine the direction and location of a gunshot. It processes this information and sends it to security in under a second.
ORIGINALITY INSPIRED BY DIFFICULT INSTALLATION
We installed over 700 wireless access points (WAPs) to give fans Wi-Fi access throughout the entire Fieldhouse. In order to ensure complete coverage, each device must be installed at a specific angle. This included hanging devices from the catwalk railing, high above the arena floor, which posed a major safety challenge.
The project team worked with ERMCO’s fabrication department to create individualized brackets that would hold the devices and be installed on the side of the catwalk. The brackets allowed the technicians to adjust each device to its precise specifications. They were able to achieve each precise angle required from the safety of the catwalk without the danger of hanging off the side.
The installation of the wireless access points was designed to draw minimal attention. Their gray color is able to naturally blend in with the cement walls and floors they hang from. This seemingly natural arrangement allows for Gainbridge to maximize WiFi coverage while not detracting from valuable advertising space.
QUALITY OF INSTALLATION
Four “Fast Break” grab-and-go markets provide a self-service option for fans to quickly grab a snack or beverage. Customers access the market by tapping the mobile pay function on their smartphone or by inserting a credit card at the gate reader. Overhead cameras track customers as they move through the market while sensors on each shelf track what items customers pick up. Customers then walk out without having to check-out.
ERMCO installed the technology required for the operation of these cashless, cashier-less markets. This included overhead cameras, credit card readers, and sensors on every shelf. Each camera covers a specific area and requires precise installation to ensure accurate coverage. After working on the first two Fast Break locations, the team learned that it is best to install the cameras as the final item. As other contractors worked in the market area, they would often bump the cameras causing misalignment and requiring readjustment.
By applying this lesson learned for the third and fourth locations, we eliminated any potential rework related to realigning the cameras. This was done by coordinating with the other contractors to install the cameras after they completed their work.
KEEPING THE FOCUS ON THE STARS
We installed over 70 broadcast cable boxes around the Fieldhouse. These cable boxes allow for a camera to be plugged in and transmit both audio and visual data simultaneously to the control truck.
All the old data cables were replaced with modern SMPTE fiber cables which are the standard for carrying HD A/V signals in professional entertainment venues. By using one cable instead of two to transmit data, camera crews use less energy and create less clutter.
THE NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION (NECA) is the voice of the $160 billion industry responsible for bringing electrical power, lighting and communications to buildings and communities across the United States. NECA’s national office in Bethesda, Md., four regional offices, and 119 local chapters across the country support the electrical construction industry through advocacy, education, research and standards development.
Go to https://www.necanet.org/news-media/detail/news/2023/08/18/winners-of-neca's-2023-project-excellence-awards-announced to learn more about the2023 NECA Project Excellence Awards.