Pictured Above - The IIT Stadium Project Team: (Pictured left to right) Kevin Tucker, Brad Bostwick, Wade Johnston, Jo-El Rowell, Kevin Schornhorst, JT Bell, Patrick Dortch, Jim Deegan, John Sang Choi, Lee Webster, Mudassir Uddin, James Amann, Mark Wells, William Faison, Kelly Robinson, Tim Roseberry. (Not pictured) Loren Adams, James Kennon, Dalton Muzyka, Tony Robinson, Szajih Saniatan, Rick Scott, Dave Smith, Jamie Thaubald, Louis Tseng, Tracy Wood.
Following the successful opening of Georgia State Stadium, GeorgiaStateSports.com continues to go behind the scenes and look at some of the folks and departments throughout the campus that made it possible. This is the fourth part of a six part series.
When it came to challenges of converting Turner Field into Georgia State Stadium, it could be argued that IIT had a bigger test than anyone because planning could not begin until the group gained access to the stadium and saw what remained in January.
What they found was a daunting technological challenge. More than 20 years of wiring, cut cables and old infrastructure that would need to be fixed and working properly in a short amount of time.
“The scope, timeline and seemingly never-ending newly discovered requirements were very challenging, but the sheer size and scale of the facility is beyond what our teams are accustomed to at GSU,” Senior IIT Project Manager James Amann said. “In addition, the exercise of converting the audio visual and broadcast technology in the stadium from baseball to football (as well as anything else hosted in the future) was a monumental task. We were very lucky to have Patrick Dortch and Wade Johnston on the team as they possess very specific expertise in this area. They along with other members of the Learning Environments Design team reconfigured and recabled the vast majority of the audio and video equipment in the control room and all around the stadium to meet the myriad of associated requirements for college football and any other event GSU will want to host at the stadium. The data network too required complete reconfiguration as well as updates and changes to the cabling infrastructure. Szajih Saniatan, William Faison, Mark Wells, Tim Roseberry and Mudassir Uddin, as well as other members of the IIT Network team, were instrumental in getting this work completed on time.”
Many members of the team had individually or in smaller groups contributed to projects on par in size and scope with the GSU Stadium Phase 1 project, though most agreed never had so much been done in such a short amount of time.
“Members of the IIT project team have worked on new stadiums and other large-scale construction and IT projects and all of that collective experience was crucial to bring this project to a successful completion,” Amann continued. “In addition, some members of our team are military veterans that bring a wealth of experience in large scale endeavors. The varied backgrounds of our team empower us to bring that experience to bear, pivot and improvise when needed on a project as challenging as the GSU Stadium.”
Working as a team is what made Georgia State Stadium come together, not just from an IIT side, but from a University perspective as well.
“The greatest achievement, aside from getting the job done is how the entire team did it with such exceptional teamwork,” Amann said. “To be clear this is the entire team that has worked on this project over the past year from IIT, GSU Facilities, Heery, JE Dunn and their subcontractors, Athletics, GSUPD, Dining Services, Auxiliary Services, Marketing, Legal and more have all been amazing. There has been very little “storming” on this project and team members brought their best to get the job done and done right.”
“I’m not sure there is a day for the past 100 days or so that James Amann, Patrick Dortch or Wade Johnston hasn’t been at the stadium working on a project,” Director of Athletics Charlie Cobb said. “Their passion for this endeavor is unmatched. They have an expertise that we cannot touch. Our staff appreciates their work greatly and we hope fans attending the events recognize this as well.”
Opening night was special for James and his crew, along with everyone associated with the University. For many individuals, like James, it is one that started a long time ago.
“As a GSU alumnus, staff member of over 16 years and a longtime resident of Grant Park, the moment I heard the Braves were leaving I immediately thought to myself, “That’s GSU’s new stadium.” I’ve long thought about how GSU could become more engrained with the local neighborhoods to bring needed change and opportunity to area residents and businesses. Dr. Becker and the administration have done an amazing job in defining GSU’s strategy to clearly announce that we want to be a part of this city in a mutually beneficial partnership. Atlanta is an amazing city and GSU’s collective administration has been visionary in developing and executing strategies to partner with the city.”
What is next for this group? Well the Memphis game on Sept. 30, of course. Just because opening night has come and gone, doesn’t mean their jobs are finished just yet.