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ICRI 2005 Project Award Winner
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Award of Excellence: Special Projects Category

Soldier Field Stadium Renovation
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Chicago, Illinois

Submitted by National Restoration Systems, Inc.

Soldier Field Stadium

Chicago Park District
Chicago, Illinois

Project Engineer/

Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers
Chicago, Illinois

Repair Contractor
National Restoration 
Systems, Inc.
Rolling Meadows, Illinois

Construction Manager
Tuner/Barton Marlow/Kenny Joint Venture
Chicago, Illinois

The renovation of Soldier Field Stadium was a massive undertaking. The design retained the historic façade, concrete walkways, and colonnades while grafting a modern stadium facility within its core.

Demolition began the night of a Chicago Bears play-off game on January 19, 2002. A Monday night grand opening game between the Bears and their traditional nemesis the Green Bay Packers was scheduled for September 29, 2003. Liquidated damages of $4.5 million per game would be assessed to any contractor who was responsible for failing to reopen the stadium on time.

The concrete restoration of Soldier Field’s remaining cast-in-place concrete structure was scheduled to begin in March 2002 immediately following the demolition contractor as the original seating bowl was removed. The bowl demolition exposed concrete surfaces that had been hidden for 78 years.

The City Building Commission of Chicago refused to issue a “Repair Permit” without an updated condition survey. All concrete surfaces within the stadium structure had to be sounded, and deteriorated areas were marked with paint, measured, identified by number, and entered on the plans. The permit was issued after a two month delay.

The concrete restoration contractor was faced with a 300% quantity increase, an expanded scope, and a two-month delay with the same completion date. Additional crews and equipment were mobilized. Many critical zones and locations throughout the structure had to be repaired on second shifts and weekends due to worker congestion and safety concerns. Double shifts, seven days a week, were scheduled as necessary to complete the concrete repairs. Over 60,000 square ft of concrete repairs were completed on time under extremely difficult conditions. Quality and safety were always maintained. The crew completed the project on time with a perfect safety record.

Soldier Field Stadium reopened on time.

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