CRE N Illinois

Mortenson completes enclosure of Chicago Bears' Halas Hall addition

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Mortenson has completed the enclosure of the major new addition to Halas Hall, putting it on track to complete the expansion and renovation of the home of the Chicago Bears before the start of the 2019-2020 NFL season. The modernization, including the 162,500-square-foot addition that more than doubles the size of the Bears’ headquarters, will deliver an expansive, state-of-the-art training center for players, coaches and the entire football operation.

“The Chicago Bears are investing for now and the future with this world-class facility,” said Lori Leber, Mortenson design phase executive who is overseeing the project. “The Bears are providing all of the tools, equipment, technology and amenities to help its players and coaches prepare and perform at their best.”

The largest improvement is a 13,000-square-foot indoor turf field with projection screen, virtual reality room and adjacent classrooms for learning and practicing plays. Other modernizations include a weight room expanded by 2,000 square feet, new locker rooms, players lounge and a rooftop garden. The team doubled the size of the equipment room, recovery space and nutrition and fuel station and also expanded the coaches’ offices, position meeting rooms and draft room. Hydrotherapy and sports medicine spaces were quadrupled in size.

“We want to use every advantage to help our players and coaches succeed, and a first-class training and recovery center is key to our team development plan,” said Bears president and CEO, Ted Phillips. “Mortenson has worked closely with us to complete the expansion and remodeling of Halas Hall as quickly as possible, even as the team and business office staff continue using the building.”

The current project, which broke ground in March, follows the 2013 Halas Hall renovation led by Mortenson that upgraded the Bears’ business offices and added a state-of-the art media and broadcast center, viewing suite and cafeteria. Mortenson has completed more than $8 billion in professional and college sports facilities in the past decade.

HOK’ssports, recreation and entertainment group designed the addition as well as the renovation of a 30,600-square-foot space on the northeast side of the building.

Meeting the ambitious construction schedule while the building is occupied requires careful staging and coordination of work supported by innovative Lean construction techniques. The Bears organization brought in Mortenson from the start, so the builder could play a key role in informing the building plan, design and layout. Mortenson worked with the design team and the Bears to optimize the floor plan so that it would provide the least disruption to the Bears’ ongoing operations.

For example, Mortenson advised on the ideal location for the demolition of the north addition to occur. This allowed for optimal construction phasing which made it possible for the Bears to remain in their existing locker room until the first phase of construction was completed. Mortenson also used prefabricated wall panels to reduce installation time, enabling the team to meet the accelerated construction schedule.

Mortenson and its subcontractors are using the Lean approaches of 5S and Pull Planning to increase productivity and safety. 5S, which stands for sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain, makes construction sites cleaner and more efficient. With Pull Planning, Mortenson and its trade partners collectively determine the best work sequences and durations, identify conflicts and develop solutions. These strategies are especially effective at the Lake Forest, Illinois site, where the team has minimal space onsite to stage and store materials and must rely on just-in-time deliveries.