CRE N Illinois

First phase of Bears' Halas Hall modernization completed

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Mortenson recently completed the first phase of the partial demolition, expansion and renovation of Halas Hall, the iconic Lake Forest, Illinois headquarters of the Chicago Bears. The first phase, turned over on April 1, focused on football operations and included demolition of part of the original facility and building a 165,000-square-foot addition with partial basement.

The first phase work was completed while accommodating the team and football organization, which continued to operate out of and train at the headquarters. Strategic planning and innovative solutions have enabled the team to stay on track in meeting the accelerated project timetable while also accommodating additional scope. Even with the additional work, the project remains on schedule to wrap up in August for the Bears’ return from summer camp.

“Mortenson’s flexibility, innovation and performance are critical to creating what will be the premier destination in the National Football League,” said Karen Murphy, the Bears’ senior vice president of business strategy and chief financial officer. “Their involvement in the early stages of this project and the input they had on construction phasing have been critical in minimizing disruption to our 24/7 operation. Throughout the project, this team has been thoughtful in working around our football schedule and phasing construction to keep our players on the field and our organization operational.”

Following the completion of phase 1, the football team and staff are now occupying the new state-of-the-art addition, which includes a weight room that was expanded by 2,000 square feet, new locker rooms and the doubling in size of the equipment room, recovery space, and nutrition and fuel station. Mortenson also installed a rooftop garden, increased the hydrotherapy and sports medicine space four-fold and expanded coaches’ offices, position meeting rooms and draft room.

The second phase now under way, plus newly added scope,  entail renovating the remaining original building, including converting the old locker room and equipment area into a larger cafeteria and player recovery area, as well as a second-floor reconfiguration to update and open up the business office space. New facilities in the second phase include a new players’ lounge, a new player entrance and the addition of a barbershop, sleep rooms and casual gathering spaces.

“One of the keys to the project’s progress has been the close collaboration of Mortenson, the Bears organization, M3 Owner’s Representative, architect HOK and our trade partners,” said Lori Leber, Mortenson design phase executive who is overseeing the project. “It’s wonderful to see the project moving along so well. We are grateful to all the outstanding craft workers and incredible project partners for their role in building this world-class facility.”

Mortenson’s unique approach involved using prefabricated exterior wall panels which were instrumental in meeting the accelerated schedule and in minimizing any potential safety and quality concerns. Mortenson and its subcontractors also are using Lean construction methods including 5S and Pull Planning to increase efficiency, productivity and safety. 5S, which stands for sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain, makes construction sites cleaner, safer and more efficient. Mortenson and its trade partners use Pull Planning to jointly determine work sequences and durations, identify conflicts and develop solutions. These strategies are especially important for this project, which has minimal space on site to stage and store materials and relies on just-in-time deliveries.

Mortenson previously led the 2013 Halas Hall addition and renovation, which upgraded the Bears’ business offices and added a state-of-the art media and broadcast center, viewing suite and cafeteria. One of the top three national sports builders, Mortenson has completed more than $8 billion in professional and college sports facilities in the past decade.