Sports venue design expert Populous and MLS team FC Cincinnati have released details of their new $250 million stadium, putting Cincinnati soccer fans one step closer to being able to cheer on their team in a state-of-the-art venue.
In attempting to create an "iconic" structure for the city, Populous has included in the West End Stadium's exterior design a 360-degree canopy roof that will cover all of the venue's 26,000 seats; more than 510 vertical LED-lit fins that will form a glowing "wave" enclosure; a glass, west-side facade that will serve as a transition into the surrounding neighborhood; six concourse-level gates; a 30-foot-tall staircase to the main entrance through which team supporters will march; and Mercy Health Plaza, which will provide community programming space.
Inside the stadium, at the north end of the natural grass field, a designated supporter section will offer 3,100 standing seats. The Orlando City Soccer stadium, which was the first soccer-specific stadium in the U.S., according to contractor Barton Malow, also included a supporter section with standing seats, Barton Malow Vice President Len Moser told Construction Dive. This allows fans to bang drums, display banners and even set off a few smoke bombs all in a space of their own. The standing areas are typically divided into small sections so that the crowd can't surge forward and endanger those standing in front.
The new FC Cincinnati stadium will also offer almost 60 suites at different levels and 4,500 club seats spread across four club areas. The upper mezzanine will wrap around three sides of the venue to enclose the bowl. Populous also designed the interior so that the farthest seat is only 130 feet from the field, with the closest at 15 feet. Two video boards and two LED ribbon scoreboards will encircle the wrap mezzanine’s façade around the stadium.
With building led by Turner Construction, the project team, the Cincinnati Business Courier reported, has committed to using 25% minority-owned (MBE) companies, 7% women-owned (WBE) firms and 30% small businesses (SBEs). As of the middle of June, more than $16 million of work had been awarded for the project, with 29.3% of that amount going to MBEs, 2.4% to WBEs and 17.1% to SBEs. Turner is acting as general contractor in partnership with local African American-owned contractor Jostin Construction, which is certified as both an MBE and SBE.
FC Cincinnati must still navigate a few Cincinnati Planning Commission approvals, according to the Business Courier. Construction crews, however, are currently working on the foundation, according to a schedule released by the team and Populous, and the grand opening is slated for March 2021.