SPS Technology is proud to have been part of the huge transformation at the USTA’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center: not once, but twice! A combination of SPS’s unique properties — prefabrication, speed of installation and high strength despite its light weight — saw it used on two outdoor competition courts at this heavily used venue.

A challenging, nine-year modernization schedule for the USTA by architects ROSSETTI saw the entire grounds of Flushing Meadow brought up to a modern spectator standard with better courts, enhanced amenities and the ability to accommodate the growing numbers of tennis fans flocking to the complex. The ambitious masterplan included two new stadiums, Court 17 and Grandstand Stadium, connected by an amenity-filled concourse, as well as the addition of a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Court 17 is one of the smallest competition courts in the complex yet anchors one end of the amenity concourse envisaged by ROSSETTI.   In order to meet an aggressive construction schedule, SPS was chosen for the tiered decking with bleacher style seating for 2,200 of the 2,500 spectator seats at the court.  Sunken 8 ft [2.4 metres] below ground level, and fondly known as ‘The Pit’, Court 17 is recognized as one the best courts for spectators in the National Tennis Center (NTC).

Following this success, SPS Technology’s SPS Stadia+Arena System was selected for the new Grandstand Stadium.  In partnership with Walters Group, SPS Technology won the contract with AECOM Hunt to supply and install tiered seating decking for 5,800 spectators in the upper bowl of the 8,125-seat Grandstand.

Rebuilt from the ground up in 2015 in time to host the 2016 US Open, Grandstand Stadium was the world’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) tennis stadium. Covering 125,000 ft2, it is the third-largest court at the NTC.  Designed to appear circular, Grandstand is in fact 16-sided and presented complexity in terms of delivering the seating decking. The ground conditions at the site also necessitated the use of lighter foundations and lighter structures above.

Prefabricated, pre-coordinated SPS was central to meeting the tight delivery schedule and the soil conditions on the technically challenging Grandstand. In total, nearly 38,137 ft² [3,543 m²] of SPS seating decking was delivered to the site ready for quick installation with lightweight cranes. Our video of the SPS terrace erection cycle shows a seating deck being installed in less than three minutes.

“The SPS stadia system is one of the most accurate stadia systems we have worked with. The design-build process helped coordinate the accuracy of structural steel and eliminated unforeseen conditions. The engineers at SPS helped to coordinate and resolve complex expansion joint issues which were a huge concern for our unstable site. The SPS system helped to complete a complex, 16-sided stadium in an extremely limited amount of time. As designers of sports venues, we especially appreciate the look of the finished system from below and above. The finish is beautiful.”

Douglas Woodward, RA, LEED AP, Associate, Senior Designer, ROSSETTI

The SPS Stadia+Arena System is a prefabricated, modular system delivering projects from the simplest to the most complex. We have lots of experience with complex builds… check out the Philippine Arena!

SPS is unique in its ability to ‘re-profile’ an existing venue delivering a modern spectator experience while keeping the historical feel that dedicated fans expect.  Quinton van Tonder’s article SPS Stadia + Arenas System Explained gives more in-depth information about this unique system!