Falcons’ builder: ‘This doesn’t look like a typical stadium’

Excerpts from an interview with Wayne Wadsworth, principal in charge of the Holder Hunt Russell Moody joint venture, general contractor for the new Falcons stadium:

Q: Have you seen similar escalation in scope and cost of other large commercial projects? Or is this unique to stadiums?

A: Whether it's an office building, a classroom building or a hospital, the infrastructure, the technology and the systems expectations are ever-growing. That is causing a further cost escalation versus doing the exact same building you would have built in 1995. … But it is definitely to a lesser extent (than with stadiums). I think the unique nature of a sports facility, and specifically a multi-purpose sports facility, is driving more and more (features) into these buildings.

Q: What are some of the specific factors driving the cost of the Falcons stadium?

A: If you look at the history of stadiums, the form has been pretty simplistic in following the function. I think (Falcons stadium architect) Bill Johnson really asked the question: Why can't these facilities be so much more … because in many cases they become the face of the community and the image to the world? (Falcons owner Arthur Blank) had the goal of building a very iconic facility. This certainly is breaking some new ground. This is more than just form follows function. The external facade is trying to do something that is not simplistic but is in our minds a very beautiful presentation of the stadium. If you compare it to typical stadiums, this doesn't look like a typical stadium. The video halo board would be another iconic element, which is not just there for its image but also has a tremendous purpose.

Q: Will having two stadiums under construction in metro Atlanta at the same time pose challenges in terms of labor and materials?

A: Yes, there is some strain and some competition for it, but I think there is enough forecasting that we … can get out ahead because these projects take so long.