Temperature remains issue in LOS

August 26, 2009
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LOSTwo Indianapolis Colts pre-season games in the August heat have done little to cool down the questions surrounding climate control at Lucas Oil Stadium.

When the roof is open, temperature and air flow are still a concern, with many fans complaining it is simply too uncomfortable to enjoy the game. Putting the argument of hard-core fans vs. whiners aside for just a moment, there is concern that someone could suffer a heat stroke in Lucas Oil Stadium and sue the Colts, city, building designers and heaven knows who else. With 63,000 plus—in various physical conditions—attending Colts games, there has to be a real concern that someone in there won’t be able to handle the heat.

Stadium guidelines mandate the roof be closed if the temperature exceeds 90 degrees or plummets below 40. Also, since there is no drainage inside and many of the electronics are not water proof, any threat of precipitation mandates the roof be closed.

John Klipsch, director of the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority, said air handling vents (especially in the upper levels) have been adjusted due to fan complaints about the temperature. But he noted that those adjustments will mainly affect the facility’s climate when the roof is closed.

When the roof is open, the heating or air conditioning is turned way down unless you’re in a suite, a stadium office or the areas around the concession stands. There simply isn’t a system in place to assure there is much air flow when the roof is open. It’s primarily left up to Mother Nature. But there’s a problem there too, according to LOS director Mike Fox.

“LOS was designed to be an indoor facility with a roof and window open occasionally,” Fox said. “Miller Park in Milwaukee, for example, is designed to be an outdoor facility where the roof closes occasionally.

“Although the common person might look at both as retractable roof stadiums, the design criteria for the two stadiums are completely different. Miller Park planned for very few days of heating or cooling the facility so it has a more open [design] at the concourses. LOS planned for more days of heating and cooling due to our all rear round schedule so sealing the facility was a big design criteria. Therefore, natural breezes through LOS are less frequent than they might be if designed the way of Miller Park.”

Klipsch added that the facility was never designed to have a “comforting breeze.”

“It’s like a sun-roof in your car, you can open it, and you may or may not get cool air coming in,” Klipsch said.

That has left some wondering why add the expense of a retractable roof at all. While it’s difficult to untangle the cost of the retractable roof from the rest of the facility, an examination of the construction budget led me to believe that the retractable roof added $20 million or more to the cost of the $720 million facility. Maintenance and upkeep of the movable parts of the roof and window cost $300,000 annually.

For more on the events the retractable roof is drawing to LOS—and their economic impact on the city, see the upcoming print edition of IBJ.
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  • Last Thursday night it was cool enough to wear long sleeves up in the cheap seats at LOS.

    Is LOS' HVAC system not sophisticated enough to run like a home furnace on fan only with no heating or cooling? Often moving air is all that's necessary for people to feel more comfortable.
  • The retractable roof was a waste - should have made it fully sealed or completely open. It's either too cold to use (Indy fans basically expect an enclosed statdium in the cold months), or when the weather is nice and warm - it gets too hot since it allows warm air in but no air circulation.
  • I remember hearing a figure upwards of $100 million for the retractable roof when it was being built and thought it crazy back then too!
  • Last Thursday was a little warm at the beginning of the game when the sun was out, but large industrial fans placed right could help move air.

    I LOVE the roof open, but I'm originally from northern Indiana where we must be a little tougher. I went to a Bears' game at Soldier Field (before the space ship landed on it) and it was a balmy 32 degrees at the beginning of the game. The temp dropped and it began snowing during the game. It was fun! Cold (OK, freezing), but fun ... no alcohol involved. And I loved that our dome team beat the Bears at the Super Bowl because everyone said a dome team was too tender to win. Now I see why they think that ... it's not the players, it's the fans.

    If it's hot out when the game begins, wear short sleeves and take a jacket for later if you think you'll get cold. It's really not that hard. The roof is a big plus, and all they need to do is get the air moving a little.
  • Why is this town so full of whiners. It was a problem when the roof wasn't open for that many games last year and complaints about how much the retractable roof cost and now that its been open for the two preseason games and there are complaints about too hot and no air flow. I was at the games and it wasn't unbearable. It was nice having the roof open, particularly during the fly over. As previous posters state, we all know now that the roof may be open, so dress accordingly. Enjoy the open roof while the weather will allow because I'm sure it will not be open if it will be 60 degrees or below, plus if they implement some sort of industrial fans will that disrupt the passing game??
  • It is probably people from Carmel complaining. Boo hoo we had to endure heat from our sideline seats. Their Labradoodles probably live a cushy life too.....stop whining wimps.
  • Look at it this way... the roof will be closed most of the time anyway because of the conditions set above... below 40, typical for the later part of the year, Nov, Dec, Jan and any potential for rain, regardless of temp. All the other times... dress for the game accordingly! They announce the day of, whether or not the roof will be open... check the internet or call! While you're at it, check the weather too! Quit crying!!! It will be closed most of the games anyway... let us hardcore fans (shouldn't be considered hardcore just for this issue) enjoy the roof being open. I would have much rather preferred an open-air stadium anyway... but this crying shows why the Colts can never have an open-air stadium. Ridiculous... this is football people, suck it up!!! Plus, it's the second season of the stadium... you should know what to expect by now!
  • You people are amazing. I remember sitting in the Hoosier Dome and sweating my tail off. When 60,000 people all sit in 1 confined area, chances are, it's going to be hot.

    The stadium is built, the roof is on it, and the funding has already been constructed. It's not going away, so get over it!
  • Very interesting. Great report, Anthony.
  • Typical whiny Colts fans, who of course will disappear the moment the team's fortunes change. In a real football town, say Pittsburgh for example, fans sit OUTSIDE in driving sleet and snow and watch football played by MEN on REAL GRASS!
    But what do you expect from a team who's toughest player (Bob Sanders) has missed 40 percent of the team's games over his career. As I said, it'll all be irrelevant soon enough once Manning retires and the fans decide it's not cool to be a Colts fan. Team will probably be playing in LA by 2025 anyway.
  • BLOGhotairobitch - perhaps you should take your sorry attitude to the sidelines - you're outa the game.
  • It is interesting to note that a number of responders said the roof will be closed most of the time anyway. So that does beg the question ... why do we have an expensive retractable roof?
  • I thought the major benefit of a retractable roof was to make it a multi-functional venue and get better acoustics to host concerts and groups like Bands of America.

    I can say from the first Keney Chesney concert held in LOS, the acoustics were terrible even with an open roof and decent seats. Many people asked for refunds and left.
  • Thank you, Matt, for bringing this back to what Anthony originally intended to be the subject of conversation - why build a stadium with a retractable roof if it's rarely used? Let's leave the discussion about whiners out of this - it's moot. I look forward to the upcoming article on how much of an economic impact the retractable roof specifically adds versus the cost of constructing it.
  • Well... Lola, and others... it's built and it's done. If you wanted to bring up the cost issue more... I'm thinking that you should have rallied more people and challenged those in charge over the costs before it was built. You can't change what it is now without more money. Did you want to spend more money to replace the current roof with one that doesn't open?

    And I'm not sure if a fan or a fan's family would win a lawsuit over getting heat stroke at the game. I'm pretty sure on the back of all tickets, there is a waiver that you are acknowledging by purchasing the ticket. Example from a different sport... I don't think anyone has won any lawsuits at baseball games over getting hit by a foul ball (I could be wrong, just haven't heard any).
  • I LOVE the roof open I think that the colts fans just need to suck it up they and deal with the cold and if they can deal with heat outside they can deal with it in LOS. These complaint just shows how weak are fans are here in Indy. The Bears and Green Bay fans go through the warm and the extreme cold's and they do just find it just makes them more defecated fan. I also believe that the weather also makes the players tougher as well. Are players will not always be playing in controlled environments they will eventually have to play in the extreme heats and even the extreme colds. I think this roof thing is a ridiculous thing to be discussing and discussing it just makes are fans look like a bunch of wimps.
  • Good point Colts Fan I agree

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