Eye on arena roofing

Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal serves up a new roof system on Louisville's new KFC Yum!® Center

  • An aerial view of the KFC Yum! CenterPhoto courtesy of Aerial Innovations of Tennessee Inc., Nashville
  • The completed faux waterfallPhoto courtesy of Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal Inc., Wheeling, W.Va.
  • Side view of the faux waterfall work in progressPhoto courtesy of Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal Inc., Wheeling, W.Va.

The KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky., is the city's newest multipurpose arena in 54 years. Opening its doors Oct. 10, 2010, the 721,762-square-foot space boasts 22,000 seats, seven levels, 72 suites, 62 premium boxes, six lounges, four meeting rooms and a 1 1/2-acre landscaped entry plaza. Home to the University of Louisville's men's and women's basketball programs, it is an ideal venue for concerts, family shows, conventions, corporate gatherings and various sporting events.

Opening act

Located inside the main lobby, the University of Louisville's Hall of Honor features a list of the University of Louisville Athletic Hall of Fame members and an interactive display offering biographical information and career highlights of each inductee. Proudly displayed are the 1980 and 1986 NCAA Men's National Championship trophies and the 2009 NCAA Women's National Championship Runner-up trophy.

Located on the main concourse's east and west sides is the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame. The display showcases Hall of Fame athletes in various sports as well as coaches, contributors and icons of the Bluegrass State. Also on the main concourse's west side is a 3-D stainless-steel sculpture suspended from aircraft cables spanning 200 feet. The encompassing public art piece was commissioned to showcase the facility's design.

The idea for the state-of-the-art arena was generated in 2005 with the creation of the Louisville Arena Task Force under the direction of former Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R). In 2006, the task force formed the Louisville Arena Authority, which owns the facility. The Louisville Arena Authority guided the development, financing and construction process of the $238 million arena and selected the financing, construction, design and management partners, which includes the Kentucky State Fair Board as the current managing and operating entity.

On April 19, 2010, it was announced Yum! Brands would pay $13.5 million for the naming rights and to sell products from three of its chains—KFC,© Pizza Hut™ and Taco Bell®—in concession stands within the arena.

Main stage

The project's construction manager, M.A. Mortenson Co., Minneapolis, selected Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal Inc., Wheeling, W.Va., as the roofing contractor for the new Louisville arena.

"The roof system on the new KFC Yum! Center needed to be installed by a high-quality commercial roofing contractor with a unique skill set," says Tom Averitt, president of AAdvanced Building Products LLC, Twinsburg, Ohio. "The right contractor was Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal."

Work on the arena's roof system began in December 2009. Coordinated in crews of six to 12 technicians, Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal mechanically fastened 3 1/2-inch-thick polyisocyanurate insulation to the metal deck. In some areas, the insulation thickness varied depending on the roof area.

The crews then mechanically attached 238,400 square feet of Firestone Building Product Co. LLC's UltraPly™ 60-mil-thick TPO roof system in gray. The arena's new roof was designed to reduce the heat-island effect in the downtown area.

Second act

In addition to the TPO roof system, from the project's highest point of 160 feet, the arena's design included a faux waterfall from the roof to the plaza below. Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal mechanically attached Carlisle© SynTec Systems' Sure-Tough 60-mil-thick reinforced EPDM sheets to act as a waterproofing membrane under metal wall panels installed by another subcontractor. To accomplish this unique work phase, workers were tied-off and used retractable safety harnesses to the crest fall line and then used a 125-foot JLG© boom lift to finish the project to the ground level.

Safety measures

In addition to working at 160 feet, space was limited to a 46-foot-wide area to lift materials on a 180-ton crane to the roof. With a major highway to the north, bridge to the east, street to the west and garage to the south, work space on the job site was extremely tight.

Weather also presented its share of challenges. In addition to working at 160 feet with limited access, workers battled cold weather and strong winds from the Ohio River.

Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal's safety team devised a site-specific safety plan and held regular safety toolbox talks to ensure a safe project. Combined with tight site access and multiple trades working side-by-side, keeping everyone safe was a significant endeavor.


In addition to the roof system, Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal installed a 1,200-foot built-in 16-gauge galvanized sheet-metal gutter surrounded by a 2,400-foot Alpine SnowGuards® SnoRail snow-retention system. Two roof hatches, six smoke vents and 2,360 feet of pre-fabricated metal coping also were installed along with 630 feet of Firestone UltraPly TPO Premium Walkway Pads heat-welded throughout the roof area.

Good reviews

Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal successfully completed its work on time Oct. 1, 2010, with no major reported incidents, and a ceremonial ribbon cutting marked the venue's opening nine days later.

"Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal rose to the occasion of showing its ongoing commitment to high-quality workmanship, professionalism in project management and a commitment to superior roof system installation," Averitt says.

"Being a part of such a high-profile project was rewarding," says Dan Tennant, sales manager with Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal. "Knowing we were a part of a marquee centerpiece for Louisville is the most satisfying part."

For its efforts on the KFC Yum! Center, Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal was a finalist in NRCA's 2012 Gold Circle Awards in the Outstanding Workmanship: Low-slope category.

Chrystine Elle Hanus is Professional Roofing's associate editor and NRCA's director of communications.

Project name: KFC Yum! Center
Project location: Louisville, Ky.
Project duration: December 2009–October 2010
Roof system type: TPO
Roofing contractor: Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal Inc., Wheeling, W.Va.
Product manufacturers: Alpine SnowGuards, Morrisville, Vt.; Carlisle SynTec Systems, Carlisle, Pa.; Firestone Building Products Co. LLC, Indianapolis
Gold Circle Awards category: Outstanding Workmanship: Low-slope



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