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Rooftop Parties at PacSci

Three experts will discuss and answer questions about design and engineering feats holding up New Arena iconic roof at Nov. 19 'Science of Sports & Entertainment' session

by Bob Condor / @NHLSeattle_ /

Now that passersby can see what appears to be a floating roof over the construction site of the the New Arena at Seattle Center, it's time for show and tell - how all of this is possible.

The ongoing "Science of Sports & Entertainment" series continues Nov. 19 at the Pacific Science Center with an evening of discussion plus audience questions and answers about the engineering and design feats accomplished to hold up the original 44-million-pound roof, first installed for the 1962 World's Fair. The iconic local and national landmark roof will remain in place while a brand-new arena is all built underneath and more than five stories underground.

The public is invited to join an expert panel to explain the particulars of the unprecedented work performed to support the local and national landmark roof during the arena build. The panelists include Steve Hofmeister, managing principal at Thorton Tomasetti, an engineering consulting firm; Rob Stephens, senior vice president at CAA Icon, a strategic management consulting firm for public and private sports and entertainment facility owners/operators; and Brent Leiter, a project executive at Mortenson, the lead construction company working with Oak View Group, the NHL Seattle partner that is building the arena. 


Here are some facts and numbers about the project: The construction crew has used approximately 4,000 tons (8 million pounds) to erect more than 70 temporary steel columns to hold up that roof. The column construction started with pile-drilling holes some 70 feet deep, then placing down a steel pipe that is reinforced with steel rebar or caging before concrete is poured in the length of the pipe (roughly the equivalent of two concrete mixer trucks).

Each pair of temporary steel columns are fortified with a cross-beam to further support the roof, along with a specially built steel "kickstand" that provides the required protection to meet the city's earthquake code. 

Those details help set up the "Science of Sports & Entertainment" event, which is co-sponsored by NHL Seattle and PacSci. We'll let the experts elaborate on the scientific, design and engineering innovation involved. 

Gates open at 6:15 p.m. for a reception in Lower Building 4 featuring alcoholic beverages for purchase and complimentary light bites. Presentation begins at 7 p.m. in PACCAR IMAX Theater. 

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