Revitalizing the O’Dome
The Stephen C. O’Connell Center, commonly called the O’Dome, has been a vibrant part of campus life at the University of Florida (UF) since December 1980. It has hosted championship basketball games, sell-out concerts, joyous graduation ceremonies, and more than a few thrilling swimming, gymnastics, and volleyball competitions.
After more than three decades of intensive use, the O’Dome was showing its age. The UF administration approved a $64.5 million renovation that would add a dramatic two-story main entrance, a reconfigured arena, high-efficiency utilities, and new amenities for students, fans, alumni, and patrons.
UF wanted the entire project completed with minimum downtime and ahead of the upcoming basketball season. UF also wanted to have the project certified as the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED V4 Gold) arena in the country.
General contractor Brasfield & Gorrie decided a temporary wall would meet these requirements and it issued a request for proposals to install a 14,592 square-foot temporary wall using Georgia-Pacific DensGlass® Sheathing.
“It was a unique, atypical building,” said Courtney Pittman, vice president and project manager for Davis Architects. “It was also an aggressive schedule with just eight months to do the majority of the construction work.”
Mader Southeast, a Florida-based commercial construction company, won the contract and GP Gypsum field sales manager Alan Zeedyk contacted Mader Southeast senior project manager Jeff Henderson with a suggestion for delivering an even greater efficiency. “DensGlass® Sheathing is an outstanding product,” Zeedyk said. “But with this extremely tight schedule, we thought Jeff might benefit from using our new DensElement™ Barrier System.”
The DensElement™ Barrier System Solution
The DensElement™ Barrier System offers an all-inone water resistive barrier and air barrier (WRB-AB). Its new and technically improved fiberglass mat gypsum sheathing panel has an integrated layer of edge-to-edge material that provides water and air protection when finished with PROSOCO R-Guard® FastFlash® liquid flashing.
GP developed the DensElement™ Barrier System to meet the demand for faster construction. It’s a further evolution of DensGlass® Sheathing, which has been the industry’s most architecturally specified fiberglass mat gypsum sheathing panel for more than three decades.
“It is such a resilient product that GP will warrant the DensElement™ Sheathing against deterioration or delamination for up to 12 months of exposure to normal weather conditions,” said Barry Reid, the building envelope technical manager for GP Gypsum. The FastFlash® liquid flashing can also be applied even when the material is wet from rain or other condensation. These are important benefits for project owners who want to minimize delays and downtime and improve the bottom line.
After further conversations with Zeedyk and studying the science behind the DensElement™ Barrier System, Henderson agreed it fit the O’Dome requirements and schedule. “Brasfield & Gorrie had committed to finishing the project before basketball season,” Henderson explained. “With this system, you put up the DensElement™ Sheathing, apply the FastFlash® liquid flashing, and you’re done. Fewer steps make it faster.”
While there was little chance the temporary wall would leak during its approximately six-month service life, the 12-month limited warranty for exposure to normal weather conditions provided the other project participants with significant peace of mind.
“Florida has harsh weather,” noted Henderson, “And the temporary wall was going to have a lot of exposure while the facility was still being used for activities. With the DensElement™ Barrier System, we were confident of keeping water out.”
The system’s components eliminate the need for applying building wraps, thin or thick fluid-applied membranes, peel-and-stick membranes, or other additional WRB-AB layers.
“The DensElement™ Barrier System is a great system because it goes up quickly,” Pittman said. “It suited our purposes perfectly, and we got great feedback from the installation contractor. I would certainly recommend it on future projects.”
The O’Dome’s renovation was completed on schedule, in time for UF’s fall semester commencement in December 2016.