After 59 years, the Athletic Department of the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton, Texas, has a new football stadium. Recently sponsored by Apogee for naming rights, the stadium is home to the Mean Green – in more ways than one. When UNT decided to pursue new projects registered and built under the US Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, they took the word “green” seriously, with sustainable goals in mind.
The chosen site placed the stadium on land that was previously a golf course, on-axis with the existing athletic facility complex and Mean Green Village for student residents. An established oak mott occupied the hilly east side of the site, and a major drainage channel and water shed cut across the west side. The project’s location next to a protected wetland and retention/detention pond was a major factor in the study of the stadium’s footprint and location requirements for loading, parking and fire-access routes.
With the curved nature of much of the construction site, the pavers had to be laid and trimmed by hand to create the perfect fit.
The Paver Solution
According to Lindsey White of Caye Cook & Associates Landscape Architects, the pavers solved a lot of issues in terms of water quality that would not have been addressed if concrete had been poured. Concrete would have created a vehicular roadway feel to the major entries, while the pavers give more of a sense of pedestrian use.
“With the pavers, you’re also cleaning the water of hydrocarbons and other pollutants as it flows out – and because we couldn’t develop within 100 feet of the wetland, the water quality had to be such that it could safely go back into that wetland,” White said.
Using the permeable pavers with an 11-inch graded aggregate base and filter fabric removed 95 percent of the total suspended solids (TSS), 70 percent of total phosphorous, 51 percent of total nitrogen and 99 percent of metals prior to entering the retention/detention pond and wetland, meeting local, state and federal stormwater quality requirements.
Permeable pavers, in lieu of pouring concrete, solved many of the site’s water quality issues. Also, concrete would have created a vehicular roadway feel to the major entries. The pavers give more of a sense of pedestrian use.
Working with HKS, Inc., an architecture group specializing in sports facilities, and Jaster Quintanilla (JQ) civil engineers, Caye Cook & Associates (CCA) provided leadership and guidance for site development and paving material selection.
In the initial site design concepts, CCA recommended permeable interlocking concrete pavers (PICP) to improve water runoff quality and reduce the load on existing storm water infrastructure. The locally manufactured permeable pavers met LEED credits for recycled content and solar reflectance index (SRI) value for heat island reduction. The paver qualities for heavy-duty vehicular applications, pedestrian/ADA accessible surface and material longevity were crucial in UNT’s agreement to use the pavers extensively while helping to pursue the goal of LEED Platinum.
“Eco-Priora was decided on because a fire lane was involved; we needed to use something that could potentially accommodate emergency vehicles, and Eco-Priora is more solid and spreads a load better than a multi-piece system,” commented Joey Guedea, an architectural sales specialist for Pavestone Co.
Permeable pavers and a built-in drainage system allow
the water to filter through the pavers and rid the water of hydrocarbons and other pollutants as it flows back into the nearby wetlands. This system was one of many instituted in an effort to achieve a LEED Platinum rating.
The east side access and loop drive to the stadium provided the pedestrian link from the main campus across Interstate 35-E, additional fire and emergency vehicle egress, and access for pregame event set up. CCA utilized permeable pavers in this area for continuity of material in addition to control storm water impact to an existing greenbelt drainage field and residential adjacency. CCA, working with HKS, created a “promenade” on the south edge of the stadium for combined pedestrian/vehicular access using Pavestone’s Holland Stone interlocking concrete pavers in pewter and cast stone colors.
The parking lot addition to the existing Mean Green Village also used pewter-colored Holland Stone for pregame events and tailgating. UNT and the design team also wanted to maximize vegetated open space on the site while meeting stadium functionality requirements adjacent to a residential development. “We tried to be very conscious of sight lines to the stadium at night, and to buffer it by adding additional vegetation where pregame tailgating occurs,” said White.