Construction of the EnergySolutions Arena began June 11, 1990 after several months of conceptual design meetings and negotiations with potential lenders. Sumitomo Trust and the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City saw the vision of Larry H. Miller and agreed to fund this new multi-purpose home for the Utah Jazz.
While the "normal" construction period for a project of this type is usually 24 to 30 months, only 15 months and 24 days were available for the completion of the EnergySolutions Arena before the Utah Jazz 1991/92 season opener. This ambitious endeavor was achieved through the cooperation and teamwork of hundreds of individual subcontractors and suppliers and literally thousands of workers both on and off the job site.
Sahara Construction of Bountiful, Utah established a joint venture, O.C./Sahara, with Ohbayashi Corporation for the construction of the 743,000 square foot base building. Sahara also acted as General Contractor for the 7.6 acre pedestrian plaza and the interior tenant improvements within the building. Time constraints required that "fast-track design/build" construction techniques be employed. This method dictates that design is completed as construction is on-going. Responsibility for the structural, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering design was undertaken by the General Contractor. Mechanical and electrical systems were designed and constructed by CCI Mechanical and Western States Electric respectively.
FFKR Architecture/Planning/Interior Design of Salt Lake City worked closely with the construction team to provide design drawings and resolve design issues during the construction process. Based on FFKR’s conceptual design drawings, the General Contractor, with help from its major subcontractors, prepared a guaranteed maximum price contract for the Owner.
Excavation of the 170,000 cubic yards of soil began on an around-the-clock basis as design team members worked feverishly to complete the first design package for the footings and foundations. This process was typical throughout the course of the project as 61 separate bid packages were ultimately prepared.
The structural frame for the arena consists of about 37,400 cubic yards of cast-in-place concrete and 7,600,000 pounds of reinforcing steel. The project required 55,000 total cubic yards of precast and cast-in-place concrete. Throughout the facility, nearly half a million concrete masonry blocks were used in non-structural walls.
The 20,500 seat arena is enclosed with a roof structure weighing some 3,000,000 pounds. The building’s exterior skin is built with 2,692 individual panes of insulating glass covering 83,000 feet and an elaborate system of synthetic stucco panels.
A significant milestone in the construction of this project was the erection of the roof system. To minimize the impact on other trades, a system for erecting the roof trusses was devised which concentrated the activity at one end of the building. The ten 92 ton steel trusses were trucked to the site in sections and field assembled. Once the first two trusses had been placed using a pair of "ringer cranes" working outside the northeast end of the building, the third truss was assembled on the ground and lifted into place 114 feet above the arena floor onto two 12 inch Teflon pads each bearing on a stainless steel track. As each 345 foot long and 27 foot high truss was erected and connected to the previously installed trusswork, the entire assembly was jacked inward 35 feet to make room for the next truss.
The EnergySolutions Arena , completed October 4, 1991, represents the commitments and sacrifices of everyone involved in this project: architects, contractors, engineers, government officials and personnel, facility management, Utah Jazz and Golden Eagles staffs, Sumitomo Trust, and especially Larry H. Miller. From concept to completion, the level of cooperation and the quality of workmanship have been exemplary. The success of this project is a personal tribute to the integrity and hard work of every participant .