Reinventing Sun Devil Stadium

With a goal to improve overall fan experience, Arizona State University (ASU) has spent the last five years completing a six-phase renovation of Sun Devil Stadium. The result of the reinvention is a stadium that now sets the standard in the Pac-12 Conference with upgrades that include:

  • a new concourse for better patron circulation;
  • new built-in stadia seating along with premium founder and club-level suites;
  • improved concessions and restrooms;
  • extensive accessibility enhancements;
  • in-stadium technology updates such as a premiere video board, complete Wi-Fi coverage from gate to seat, a state-of-the-art sound system, and enhanced security features; and
  • an expanded student section to support the sixth-largest undergraduate student body in the country.

The $307 million project was a partnership between Henderson Engineers, Gould Evans, HNTB, and the Hunt-Sundt joint venture. Throughout design and construction, the university’s goal was for 365-day use of the facility. That required the design of all systems to be well thought out and planned for sequencing of construction. Nearly all the work on the project was completed between football seasons, and not a single game had to be postponed or relocated.  Started in September 2014, the final phase is set to finish in August, just in time for the 2019 Sun Devils football season. In addition to football games, the new stadium can also now schedule year-round programming like festivals, concerts, and movies.

The reinvented Sun Devil Stadium preserves the history and iconic views within the venue while not only improving the fan experience, but also that of the players, coaches, and staff. New updates include:

  • a world-class student-athlete football training facility;
  • a state-of-the-art locker room, weight room, meeting rooms, and coaches’ offices; and
  • a treatment facility with multiple hydrotherapy pools, one of which includes an underwater treadmill to help players recovering from injuries; and
  • enhanced, award-winning lighting features. The lighting throughout the renovated facility received a first-place achievement from the local Phoenix Chapter of Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and a National Award of Merit from IES.

Henderson provided acoustics, architectural lighting, electrical, fire & life safety, mechanical, plumbing, and telecom services for the project.

Henderson was tasked with doubling the electrical load for the stadium as part of the renovation, which required a new set of parallel 12.7kV feeders to run from ASU’s campus power substation an eighth of a mile away. Power outages and shutdowns were kept to a minimum since portions of the stadium remained in daily use by the athletics department.

The original stadium did not have natural gas nor fire suppression systems, so new infrastructure was designed to allow each subsequent phase to be tied into the system without disrupting those currently in operation. The new infrastructure also ensured that during heavy-usage seasons, the systems were online and fully code compliant. While the existing stadium had only evaporative cooling for HVAC, a new central plant was designed to provide the existing press tower, suite levels, and the student athletic facility with much-needed HVAC improvements for its desert location.

It didn’t stop there. Perhaps the biggest building system challenge was soundproofing the central plant, which is located adjacent to the office of the head coach and the war room for football staff personnel. Henderson’s acoustical engineers designed an acoustical floor system for the entire central plant room that ensured noise did not impact everyday operations within these two critical spaces. Our technology experts also stepped in part-way through the project to take over telecom work, finishing the design and construction of a state-of-the-art Wi-fi system throughout the stadium.

Congratulations to ASU as this massive project comes to an end. We’re excited for fans, players, coaches, and staff to enjoy this premiere facility. Sun Devil Stadium is destined to be the site of many more memories for decades to come.


Written By
Kelly Hyde

Venue Sector Sports Practice Co-Director | Principal


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