The projects will involve LED lighting, variable frequency
drives, Ideal Industries’ Audacy wireless lighting control/
energy management system, and other new technologies.
The team also installed two new video boards in the stadium while maintaining the existing historic scoreboard, which
wasn’t without its challenges.
According to Dan Maimonis, project executive, electrical
contracting partner Kelso-Burnett, and Bill Martin, Jr., project
manager, Kelso-Burnett, the contactor that measures balls and
strikes in the old scoreboard is historic and irreplaceable, so
it required a lot of care. In addition, the scoreboard was controlled from the press box behind home plate, so it had to be
removed and replaced because the wiring went through the
left-field portion of the bleachers.
In addition to the team of nearly 200 contractors having to
work in the tight constraints and cold-weather months of the
offseason, the stadium’s electrical system had undergone many
additions over the years and involved a collection of different
“We’ve worked with utility ComEd to upgrade all of their
feeds to the stadium and rebuild the entire distribution system
to bring it up to the current standard,” Nissen said. “It had been
built to code at the time, but the technology is completely dif-
In addition, the sheer quantity of labor, the short time
period and the tremendous volume of conduit and wire to pull
required tight coordination, a reality exacerbated by contractor
labor shortages in Chicago, the site of many other construction
projects happening concurrently.
“This is one of the most complicated and challenging jobs
we’ve ever done but also one of the most rewarding because it’s
such an iconic structure in Chicago,” Nissen said. “It’s exciting
to be a part of it.”
“Wrigley Field is one of the most unique projects I’ve been
involved with, but as a lifelong Chicagoan, it was one I had to
work on,” Maimonis said.
BLOOM is a 20-year veteran of the lighting and electrical products
industry. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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A rolling KNAACK DataVault
with large-screen monitor was
used on the job.
Our experts share their tips for success on
Know your landscape
“[Historic structures] haven’t necessarily been documented
in a pristine manner, so you never know what you’re going to
unearth,” Maimonis said.
It is important to study the structure yourself.
“Because there are often no blueprints or ‘as-built’drawings
available for reference, contractors really need to touch and see
the building to see what’s actually going on,” Busse said.
“There are many more variables in an older structure
than there are with newer ones and subsequently more risk
to contractors,” Nissen said. “You can’t necessarily work from
or take quantities off drawings. You’ve got to allow for some
creative routing and coordination in the field that you wouldn’t
necessarily have on a newer structure. You may have to open
up ceilings and floors or have someone actually crawl through
the bowels of the place to determine the materials to use,
where to run things, and if other things need to be moved.”
Historic renovations can require more coordination than usual.
“We had weekly and often daily meetings as required with
our project managers and foremen to ensure that we were
doing it right the first time,” Busse said.
Capitalize on technology
The best way to stay in communication and progress as a team
is to use current technology to your advantage.
“We used a rolling Knaack Mini DataVault to house a
computer with a large-screen monitor that tapped into the
Internet and had all of our documents loaded in it, from
submittal reviews so that we could check on products to
meeting minutes so that we could review all the latest
sketches,” Busse said.
Both projects relied on Trimble (Accubid) estimating
software as well as Trimble 3-D laser scanners integrated with
BIM and CAD systems.
“You’ve got to look at your structure and use the most up-to-date information available,” Maimonis said. “At Wrigley Field,
in addition to using the DataVaults, we digitized the project
for our staff so that everyone could pull up a BIM model on a
tablet to compare it to what they were finding in the field.”
This is important regardless of the structure’s age.
“Efficiency should always come into play, especially for a
property owner who intends to possess the property for a long
time,” Nissen said. “You want to be making decisions on the
products to be installed based on their total life cycle costs, not
just their first costs.”
Embrace the team
Historic renovations can involve many more players than other
“You have to be experienced, listen, be able to
communicate with all of these individuals who have a stake in
the upgrade, and be able to make changes quickly,” Busse said.