Butler Manufacturing Sanford Fieldhouse case study

Jan. 7, 2014
Sanford Health is the largest rural nonprofit integrated health system in the nation. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D., it employs 26,000 people and is the largest employer in North Dakota and South Dakota.

Better health through athletics

Sanford Health is the largest rural nonprofit integrated health system in the nation. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D., it employs 26,000 people and is the largest employer in North Dakota and South Dakota. Its 39 medical centers and 140 clinic locations serve 60,000 square miles in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and the Dakotas.

As part of its mission of health and healing, Sanford Health is committed to improving athlete health and performance. Through its Sanford POWER program, athletes and individuals can access an integrated team of medical, athletic, exercise and health experts to help meet their training and physical conditioning needs. Sanford POWER supports young athletes through its sports academies and is home to the National Institute for Athletic Health & Performance (NIAHP).

Sanford Health wanted to provide additional opportunities and resources for staying healthy as well as more facilities to support youth sports activities. To make that vision a reality, Sanford Health sold its existing POWER facility to the University of Sioux Falls in late 2011 and embarked on plans for a larger, state-of-the-art fieldhouse.

Past relationships leads to new opportunities

The new owners of Sanford Health’s existing POWER facility had a tight occupancy deadline, which posed a challenge to the new construction process. Sanford Health enlisted Fiegen Construction, a design/build firm and Butler Builder® located in Sioux Falls. The timetable was both budget-conscious and ambitious — it only allowed three months for design and six months for construction.

Sanford Health chose Fiegen Construction because of its past relationships on successful projects that accomplished design/build work in a fast and cost-efficient manner. Sanford Health took advantage of Fiegen’s in-house architecture department to design the space. Fiegen retained Midwestern firm JLG Architects to serve as a sports facility architectural consultant.

“We understood that for a project of this magnitude and schedule, we needed to clearly establish significant goals and objectives, identify roadblocks and create a plan to follow through with our objectives,” said Jarrett Hallvin, project manager at Fiegen Construction. “We take pride in guiding our owners, subcontractors and suppliers through a fast-paced process.”

Fiegen recommended Butler® building systems to meet Sanford Health’s building needs. Butler building systems offer the value and speed of delivery Sanford required for the tight turnaround time. The goals for the space included:

  • Create a premier indoor sports facility for local, regional and national athletic training that is protected from the elements
  • House physical therapy facilities, Sanford POWER academies, sports medicine outreach and NIAHP professional services and research
  • Develop a strong and unique image to serve as the focal point of a new sports complex

Unique challenges, unique solutions

Following the design phase, Fiegen Construction assembled a uniquely qualified “A-team” of subcontractors and suppliers to meet scheduling goals. Fiegen applied the latest technological advances to ensure construction went smoothly, including the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology. BIM helped to track construction progress, allowing for faster project delivery, improved quality and lower costs.

Construction began in March 2012, enabling Fiegen to save Sanford Health thousands of dollars in winter construction and energy costs. The fieldhouse was the first building constructed as part of the new sports complex on Sanford-owned land, which meant no roads and no utilities were in place. The seasonal construction savings offset the costs of building temporary roads for construction access.

In addition, the fieldhouse’s proximity to an airport posed a challenge — not only from a noise control perspective but also coordinating construction equipment with Federal Aviation Administration flight paths and other construction happening in the area.



The Widespan™ structural system provided the 3:12 roof pitch that the 85,400-square-foot structure needed to accommodate sporting events for the nonprofit.

“The roof’s clearspan framing system was an attractive feature for us,” said Austin Parks, construction project manager, facilities planning at Sanford Health. “It helped minimize the use of interior columns and maximize use of the interior space, which needed to accommodate many features under one roof.”

The multifunction facility included:

  • 62,000 square feet of professional-grade FieldTurf®, which can be divided into four quadrants for multiple activities at once
  • Latest technology for athletic performance, physical therapy and research of injuries, such as concussions in football
  • State-of-the-art training facilities
  • Full-amenity locker rooms
  • Four batting cages
  • Multiple indoor sports leagues

The MR-24® roof system was the perfect option to protect the fieldhouse from South Dakota’s cold, dry winters and summer heat. Movable clips can assist roof movement under changing temperatures. To enhance the energy efficiency of the fieldhouse, the roof was painted with a “cool roof” finish and accommodates additional insulation thickness.

To provide further insulation, Hallvin recommended the ThermaLiner™ insulation system. Not only does it save on heating and cooling costs but, when paired with a perforated ceiling liner, it also offers superior acoustic deadening qualities. Fiegen Construction is one of the first builders to use a perforated ceiling liner in this matter, so Hallvin consulted with Butler regarding vapor barrier location and installation.

“Without the turf and perforated liner in the ceiling, playing soccer and other sports in a facility of this size would sound like being in an echo chamber,” Hallvin said. “These features also helped reduce outside noise from the nearby airport.”

Inspiring athletes to succeed

Sanford Health wanted to make a statement with the fieldhouse, which would be the focal point of the nonprofit’s sports complex. Fiegen Construction recommended the Thermawall™ wall system, with a fineline panel finish that enabled them to hang pre-cast off of the frames of the building with exterior elevations creating a Greek temple-like look. Not only is it architecturally unique, but also the Greek motif will be inspiring to the athletes that visited the facility.

After 288,000 man-hours, zero injuries and 39 cranes and lifts in operation, the fieldhouse was completed on schedule. Hallvin credits the success to open lines of communication, a positive team working relationship and mutual respect.

“Through solid communication and reputable and efficient materials, we delivered an awesome facility in just eight months,” Hallvin said.

Sanford Health was delighted with the finished product, as well. Fiegen is currently collaborating with Sanford Health on other sports complex projects including the Sanford Pentagon, a basketball facility with nine indoor courts, near the fieldhouse. The StylWall™ flat wall system is used for parts of this structure.

“When Fiegen proposed a metal building, we had preconceived notions of what that would look like,” said Ross Winkels, construction project manager, facilities planning at Sanford Health. “It’s a very nice facility, and I think Fiegen Construction and Butler helped alter our expectations — as well as a lot of other people’s expectations — for the better.”

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