The work on the new Monongalia County Ballpark, future home of WVU Baseball and the West Virginia Black Bears, has reached a signficant milestone – substantial completion of the major structural elements in the project. This is significant because it marks a distinct point in the construction sequence where the contractor can move toward other aspects, such as interior finishes, furniture and turf installation.
While the ballpark is sure to be the home to many future victories for the Mountaineers and Black Bears, it is home to some unique elements of structural engineering as well. Featured most prominantly is the nearly 20 foot overhead cantilever roof over the seating bowl that will help shade visitors to the park in sunny weather and keep them dry in the rain. The heavy steel girders, which form the structural support for the roof, are nearly 8 feet tall and built from half inch steel plates.
The topography of Morgantown and the location of the ball park at University Town Center combined to create a unique way that wind will interact with this roof. In addition to considering how the wind may blow the roof from side to side, Allegheny Design Services’ engineers also had to consider how the wind might “pick up” the front edge of this roof and try to peel it back. But with proper design strategies considered, the only thing the wind should do now is make it more difficult to hit home runs!
One other major aspect of the building’s structure that most people won’t see doesn’t have anything to do with steel or concrete. Instead, it’s what had to be done to the soil in and around the ball park, which allowed the building to be built in the first place!
Originally owned by Consol Energy, the field where the ballpark is located on contained remnants of old mining operations including shafts and material stockpiles. These remnants left numerous voids and pockets in the soil beneath the structure which, if not treated, could collapse later causing settlement issues in the park’s operation.
To correct this, a process known as compaction grouting was employed, which essentially pumps grout down into the ground and fills these voids in with a concrete-like mixture. The soil between each concrete “bulb” is then compacted together to the point where it can support the required structural loads.
Allegheny Design Services has been a proud member of the design team for this project. We look forward to enjoying these games at this beautiful new facility. To see other athletic facilities ADS has done click here.
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Mike works as the Senior Structural Engineer for ADS. His responsibilities include project management and structural design. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and graduated with a master’s of business administration from West Virginia University in December of 2014. He has extensive engineering experience as a field engineer, a civil engineer and a structural engineer. He has served as a past branch president for the American Society of Civil Engineers and chairman of the Richmond Joint Engineers’ Council. He is a current member of the ASCE 7-16 Seismic Committee and is active in many other professional committees and civic organizations.