Tilt-up is particularly effective in high volume spaces, such as field houses and gyms, one of the compelling reasons tilt-up was chosen for the USF basketball training facility.
R.R. Simmons Tilt-up is particularly effective in high volume spaces, such as field houses and gyms, one of the compelling reasons tilt-up was chosen for the USF basketball training facility.

Amateur sports facilities are a huge untapped market for the tilt-up industry. Today, tilt-up is used in nearly every type of building, from schools to office structures and houses to hotels. Sports arenas are another niche that can benefit from this construction method.

Tilt-up structures range from single story to several stories—some more than 96 feet high. It is a cost-effective and efficient construction method that greatly accelerates the schedule for sports arenas. Many fine examples can be identified through the Mt. Vernon, Iowa-based Tilt-Up Concrete Association’s (TCA) project database.

The biggest advantage in using tilt-up for sports arenas is the cost reduction. “In amateur sports, budgets are always tight,” says Randy Simmons, chairman, R.R. Simmons, Tampa, Fla. “More exotic materials clearly drive the cost up. Tilt-up offers a highly flexible building system that addresses both the structural system of the project while offering a variety of exterior finishes. Using fewer components, as with tilt-up, reduces project cost and saves time in the delivery of the project.”

USF Basketball Facility

The University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa is building a new 51,000-square-foot basketball training facility—the Les and Pam Muma Basketball Center. The symmetrically designed structure will have both men’s and women’s sides. With two stories, the lower level will house full-sized practice courts, locker rooms and player lounges, video theaters, a sports medicine clinic, and a strength and conditioning area. The second level will house coaches’ offices, administrative spaces, and a new basketball support group gathering area.

One of the major advantages of using tilt-up for this structure is that the costs are lower than typical construction using concrete masonry units with insulation and stucco finish. Tilt-up walls, with sandwich insulation in the middle, allows the interior of the courts to be painted concrete, a durable surface that is aesthetically acceptable.

Populous, Kansas City, Mo., one of the most recognized sport designers in the business, teamed with R.R. Simmons for the design of this center. “The new training center will clearly be one of the top five collegiate basketball centers in the NCAA,” says Doug Woolard, USF’s athletic director.

The panels used for the structure are typically 24x47 feet. The largest panel has weighed more than 200,000 pounds.

“Tilt-up is particularly effective in high volume spaces, such as field houses and gyms,” says Simmons. “This was one of the compelling reasons we opted for tilt-up for the USF basketball training facility.”

Construction started on the basketball facility in July 2010 and will be completed in June 2011.

Encouraging tilt-up for sports arenas

One of the biggest hurdles in using tilt-up for sports arenas is convincing the designer of tilt-up’s advantages. The owner will embrace its speed and appreciate the load-bearing walls in lieu of additional exterior columns, providing a cleaner, more effective interior. Simmons notes, “We expect to see the use of tilt-up for a variety of sport facilities to escalate significantly as the market rebounds.”

R.R. Simmons currently is also using tilt-up on the USF’s new soccer stadium, with other possible projects to come.

To learn more, visit TCA’s website at www.tilt-up.org.