Salt Lake readies for 2002 Olympics with new, hydronically heated stadium

July 1, 2000
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SALT LAKE CITY — Awarding the next Summer or Winter Olympic Games to a city means a real boon in construction to house and accommodate millions of visitors and thousands of athletes, as well as providing the various sports venues needed.

For the year 2002, Utah’s capital Salt Lake City is gearing up to host the Winter Olympics, to be held during the month of February, and new construction can be viewed all over the city and adjacent locales like Ogden, Provo, and Park City.

Already complete and in operation is the new Rice Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah, Salt Lake, where the Winter Olympic Games’ opening and closing ceremonies will be held. It apparently was not damaged by the recent tornado.

Record-setting build

Home to the university’s football team, the Utah Utes, Rice Eccles Stadium opened last September, replacing an older stadium with insufficient capacity for Olympic needs. It was built in a record 10 months for $47 million and seats 46,000, with additional seating available for the Olympics.

The facility comes with a hydronic heat and hot water system supplied by Hurst Boiler with pumps and accessories provided by Taco. York International supplied equipment for air conditioning.

The stadium’s hvac system, reports Ben Davis, project engineer with Van Boerum & Frank Associates of Salt Lake, consulting engineers for the project, was designed for longevity, maintenance, and cost effectiveness.

The equipment

Rice Eccles has two boiler rooms, one on either side of the stadium, along with six air fan rooms. Each room contains a gas-fired Hurst three-pass, wetback scotch boiler (350 and 80 hp, respectively) as its centerpiece.

Four Taco FE (frame-mounted end-suction) pumps and eight 1600 Series in-line pumps circulate hot water from the boilers to supply heat throughout the facility, as well as providing domestic hot water for public lavatories and food concessions.

Two of the FEs supply a glycol-hot water system to reduce the chance of freezing in the system’s piping. Hot water heaters were supplied by Weben-Jarco, and include systems of 125-, 225-, and 400-gal storage capacity.

For summer events at the stadium, two FE pumps also feed an air-cooled, chilled-glycol system. The hot water and hot glycol systems are variable volume. All three (hot water, hot glycol, and chilled) are closed-loop systems.

In addition, Taco heat exchangers, air separators, suction diffusers, expansion tanks, and numerous “Accu-Flo” circuit setters for flow control were specified by Van Boerum & Frank Associates through a competitive bid process.

Van Boerum, which specified products for the city’s Salt Palace Convention Center several years ago, is quite familiar with Taco products. According to Howard Van Boerum, president of Van Boerum & Frank, “We’ve always had very good luck with Taco.” TMS Inc., also of Salt Lake, was the sales agency for Taco, Hurst, and other specified products.

Hot seats

Pressure boosting is provided by Syncro-Flo, with Taco vertical in-line (VI) pumps boosting hot water 140 ft up to the semi-open Scholarship boxes, which come with seats heated through finned-tube radiant piping.

For overhead heat to the Scholarship boxes, a gas-fired infrared heating system was supplied by Reflecto-Ray, and is supplemented by Aerotech mechanical ceiling panels.

York provided six variable-volume air handlers and vav terminal boxes, as well as fancoil units, installed throughout the facility. KK Mechanical, Ogden, was selected as the mechanical contractor. The project required close coordination between the contractor and engineer to ensure that deadlines were met and equipment functioned properly.

Alan Toone, KK Mechanical project manager, reports that installation of the hvac system for the stadium proceeded at an especially fast pace over the last 60-day period, with installers at first working with only 80% of the mechanical prints complete.

“Between drawing updates and budget limits, it was a very demanding installation,” he said, “but we got it done on time for a late-September start-up.”

According to the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee, more than 130,000 people are expected to attend the Games on any given day, with about 56,000 expected to be in attendance for both the grand opening and closing ceremonies at Rice Eccles Stadium.

Information was supplied by Taco, Inc., Cranston, R.I.; 401-942-8000; 401-942-2360 (fax); www.taco-hvac.com (Web site).

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