Integrating a cutting-edge communications network into a construction project that was already mostly complete forced Cronje and his team to be flexible in how they interfaced with NB Development, the architect Elkus Manfredi, and the general contractor, JMA.
WSP also had to negotiate multiple supply chain disruptions that made procuring anything — let alone sophisticated technology gear — a challenge in the spring and summer of 2021.
“We reached out to manufacturers and distributors to understand what equipment such as network switches and wireless access points was available within project schedule constraints, which we then designed the converged network around,” said Cronje.
The Track at New Balance is part of NB Development’s Boston Landing, a 15-acre mixed use development adjacent to the Massachusetts Turnpike and the New Balance World Headquarters.
The Track at New Balance, which officially opened on April 13, is designed to accommodate up to 5,000 spectators and attendees for a wide range of sports events and conferences, with a separate 3,500-seat music venue.
It features a 200-meter hydraulically banked track that is considered the “technically fastest in the world.” The Track at New Balance joins other showcase athletic buildings at Boston Landing, including official practice facilities for the Boston Celtics and Bruins.
As Cronje and his colleagues on WSP’s Innovation Advisory team anticipated the grand opening event, they were also busy assisting the client’s staff in operationalizing the new technology infrastructure.
“It’s one thing to design all the systems, put the network together, then hand it over,” Cronje said. “But what we’re doing goes way beyond that. We’re developing process flows, take-on procedures for different technology components, policy statements as well as job specifications for the people required to manage the infrastructure. We want to build up the client’s ability and knowledge so they can maximize the functions and features of their investment, delighting fans, athletes and other users while delivering significant income over a long period of time as sports software and user habits evolve.”
This project illustrates how an investment in technology can be a catalyst for change and establish a revenue source for a facility.
“Soon, we will be able to watch and appreciate, from our first-hand involvement, the setting of even more world records at this iconic facility,” Cronje said. With his son being a national level middle-distance runner, Cronje added, “It would be a dream come true on so many levels the day that I sit in the seats of this magnificent facility not as the design engineer but as a parent and a fan of an athlete on this track!”
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