The talk of previous years has turned into furious action in downtown Atlanta as the new Atlanta stadium begins to move upward. Construction crews are hard at work building what will be an iconic venue for the city of Atlanta upon completion in 2017.
New Atlanta stadium General Manager, Scott Jenkins, recently detailed the progress on-site and commented on what makes this venue so unique.
"The building doesn't remind me of anything," Jenkins told AtlantaFalcons.com. "That was part of the design intent. If it reminded us of something, it wasn't created quite right. It's a very complex project. The roof is complex, the halo video board is complex, the fact that it's on a tight, urban environment is complex, but I think, at the end of the day, we're going to have a really unique stadium that's going to blow people away."
To bring a sports and entertainment complex of this magnitude to life, it starts from the ground up, quite literally. In the past few weeks, activity and progress has increased rapidly. As many as 350 contractors are on-site each day pouring concrete slabs, installing utilities and plumbing and setting up lower level foundations on the southwest corner of the stadium.
Plans for the stadium include water and energy conservation and the use of sustainable materials. Jenkins said a primary goal for the new Atlanta stadium is to reach the highest level LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification a sports facility has ever achieved. A few of the exciting sustainable features include: collecting rainwater for cooling and irrigation, edible gardens on the outside of the stadium and utilizing solar panels in various areas.
Two of the most impressive, and much discussed, features of the new Atlanta stadium are the first-of-its-kind, eight panel ocular roof, and the halo video board that will wrap a full 360 degrees around the top of the stadium. At nearly 1,100 linear feet in diameter, and nearly 63 feet tall (almost 5 building stories), the 360° halo board will be the largest high-definition video board in the world.
"We built it with a roof, but we're treating it like an outdoor venue that can close when we need to, so it's very flexible," Jenkins said. "Eight panels converge on each other to open and close the roof in as little as six minutes. No one's done that before and no one's done a halo video board that stretches 1,100 linear feet in a circle."
The new Atlanta stadium is set to open in time for the first MLS Atlanta home game, scheduled for March of 2017. Current Georgia Dome executive members and season ticket holders will have an opportunity to begin selecting seats in early January 2015.