Ask anybody. If you want a successful arena, you must have a state-of-the-art sound system. How else are spectators going to enjoy renowned musicians and the hype of any major sporting event?
This is exactly what the City of Norfolk, Va., thought when they decided to renovate the audio- and video-rigging infrastructure at their local landmark, the Scope Arena. Unfortunately, the process required drilling holes through the roof deck to install support grid bolts for the new equipment, and what began as a seemingly straightforward task grew into the need for a new roof.
The ArenaThe arena, built in 1968, had been covered by a 1.5 inches of spray-applied polyurethane foam (SPF) roof that had provided almost 40 years of leak-free protection. But after the sound system update, the city had to address the new holes in the impressive and dramatic dome architecture of the Scope Arena.
At first, RPC Industries Inc., a commercial and industrial contractor, was hired to patch up the 1-inch holes. The project grew however, when the grid-installation team was forced to cut out 4-foot-square sections of the roof in order to accurately determine placement for their drill holes.
“It turned out that instead of patching small holes that really wouldn’t be noticeable, there were larger foam patches and the coating wouldn’t match at all,” explains RPC Industries spokesperson Bryan Heldreth. “It was going to look like a patchwork quilt.”
The Scope Arena’s roof is a concrete monolithic dome, measuring 440-feet in diameter, 110-feet tall and encloses an area of 85,000 square feet. As one of Norfolk’s largest most aesthetically pleasing attractions, an uneven patchwork repair was not an option as it would be very obvious.
The ApplicationWith the significant number and placement of perforations required, the answer was to completely recoat the roof with a fresh new application of SPF roofing material, says Mark Koukol of Ellerbe Becket, Inc., lead architects on the Scope renovation project.
For a brand-new look, RPC proposed patching and re-coating the entire roof with ELASTOSPRAY spray-applied polyurethane foam roofing and ELASTOCOAT protective coating, both from BASF Polyurethane Foam Enterprises LLC. This application method eliminated tear off and subsequent trips to the landfill. And when completed, roof performance is a big deal in the Norfolk area with the Scope Arena being no stranger to hurricanes and tropical storms. So, part of the appeal of undergoing a whole-roof renewal was in the opportunity to build in trouble-free performance for many more years to come.
“Being right down here on the coast of Virginia, we’ve been hit with some pretty bad storms in the Scope’s history,” says Koukol. “Hurricane Isabel devastated our area four years ago, and then we had Hurricane Charley. The arena survived it all without a single leak. There have been many, many storms in our area - we tend to get about three a year. So the Scope Arena roof has definitely proven its ability to stand the test of time.”
The project was finished in about 30 days without downtime. Today, “The Scope” looks better than ever. Even Norfolk’s local media took notice of the makeover and posed a front-page photo of RPC installer, Willie Harvey, suspended high above the ground while working on the roof. John Rhamstine, the city’s director of cultural facilities, arts and entertainment, says he was excited to see the finished product.
“Our city’s roofing experts oversaw the process from specification to completion and I feel we got a good finished product.”
“The Norfolk Scope Arena is a prominent local destination and an impressive building by a well-known designer of dome structures,” adds Mark Koukol. “The new roof has enhanced that image and is expected to perform well for many years. We are very satisfied with the results.”
RecognitionThey aren’t the only ones who are impressed with the roofing job. RPC was recently recognized for their work on the Scope Arena; in fact, the company was presented with the 2006 National Excellence Award from the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance.
The company is very proud, says Heldreth, of both of the finished product and the lasting impact it will have on one of Norfolk’s main attractions.
“The Scope Arena is a landmark around here, so to have been able to help the city with the extended warranty and be recognized by industry peers for a job well done is always a great satisfaction,” he says. “We really enjoyed being able to share that with the crew who worked so hard on it. It was really rewarding.”