At the $140-million Atlanta Braves Spring Training Complex in North Port, Florida, ceiling systems helped meet the desired appearance of a contemporary training facility, the performance requirements of a hot and humid climate, and the high-traffic use of a sports and entertainment venue.
The purpose-built facility mimics its home at Georgia’s SunTrust Park. Built on 32 ha (80 acre) of previously vacant land, the new complex was designed by Fawley Bryant Architects (FBA) to create a state-of-the-art, comfortable, and fun environment for players, fans, and year-round events.
The complex centers around a 6200-seat stadium and a three-story, 5110-m2 (55,000-sf) clubhouse with an athletic training facility and executive offices.
According to FBA’s project manager, Kirk Bauer, the selected ceiling system was used for every building on the complex. This includes the clubhouse, locker rooms, major and minor batting areas, concessions, kitchens, and in the stadium.
Much of the complex is open to Florida’s weather, so the ceilings had to be resistant to prevalent moisture and to prevent sagging, mold, and mildew. It also needed to work within the limited budget to present a high-class appearance with minimal maintenance.
Acoustic ceiling tiles were used for enclosed spaces, metal ceiling panels for weather-sensitive areas, and combined with a suspension grid and perimeter trim.
The updated locker room uses acoustic, stone wool, 0.6 x 0.6 m (2 x 2-ft) panels in a square tegular narrow edge coupled with a 14-mm (9/16-in.) ceiling suspension system. Not only does this showcase an attractive reveal profile and clean, streamlined look, its smooth white surface also reflects 85 percent of light. The perimeter trim also delivers the neat, professional edge.
Inset within the locker room’s stone wool panels are snap-in metal ceiling panels finished in satin silver to accentuate their modern aesthetic and complement the team colors.
The locker room’s private changing area also relies on acoustical ceiling panels paired with the 14-mm ceiling suspension system. This same panel and grid pairing was selected for the clubhouse, stadium control room suites, kitchens, and press box.
The 360-degree concourse’s covered boardwalk encircles the stadium for views of the bullpens and access to multiple concession stands. This large shaded walkway allows for natural breezes, while sheltering guests from rain and sun. Looking up, there are no exposed pipes and wire to see. The plenum is concealed by linear metal ceiling systems. The aluminum planks are finished in walnut to create the look of a wood ceiling, reminiscent of wooden baseball bats. The metal does not rot or warp, takes minimal maintenance, and has been acoustically improved to keep fans focused on the sounds of the game.
In addition to the contemporary aesthetic and performance-driven design, the complex also has sustainable attributes, such as reclaimed water and energy-efficient lighting. Additionally, the acoustic panels are Greenguard Gold certified for low emissions. The metal ceiling systems and natural stone wool panels also are manufactured with recycled content. The metal panels and grid are 100 percent recyclable at the end of their use on the facility.