streams of satisfied Paul McCartney fans poured out of San Antonios
new Alamodome near midnight on May 29, 1993, few of them would
have classified the legendary ex-Beatles concert as routine.
But for electrical contractors and facilities engineers at the
vast state-of-the art arena, it was. And thats just what
they had been hoping for. McCartneys concert was the first
major event held at the architecturally striking Alamodome.
Built over a three-year period at a cost of more than $180 million,
the Dome is the largest public arena in the rapidly growing,
densely populated San Antonio area. With a fixed-seating capacity
of 65,000 and alternate seating configurations for 10,000 to
73,200, the Alamodome is well-equipped to host practically any
event imaginable. Two built-in Olympic-size ice sheets are on
hand for hockey games and skating performances. More than 30,000
square feet of meeting space and 160,000 square feet of exhibition
area welcome trade show and exhibit conventioneers. The official
home of the San Antonio Spurs NBA basketball team, the Alamodome
is just steps away from the waterfront hotels, restaurants,
galleries and shops that line the citys well-known Riverwalk.
construction of such a large facility calls for careful planning.
To ensure that all electrically driven systems would operate
on command without interruption, the Alamodomes electrical
design firm, Marmon MOK, established a set of criteria which
would be used to determine the best power protection for the
structure. Engineer David Remerschied of Marmon MOD called
on Steve McKim from the San Antonio offices of Tubbesing Sales
Corp. (TSC) for advice.
With offices in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston, TSC has been
a factory-trained representative for Current Technology power
conditioning and distribution products since 1983. "David
outlined what each electrical service entrance would require,"
McKim recalls. "They wanted power conditioning equipment
with high energy handling characteristics, rugged design which
would ensure dependability over the life of the system, fused
protection, easy testing and low maintenance. Also important
was the ability to interface with "add on" power
conditioning components if additional protection was required
downstream. "Current Technology had the optimal products
to meet the stringent requirements of this facility,"
the design process, a number of factors led us to determine
that high quality power protection was mandatory for the "Dome."
Remerscheid recalls. "For one thing, the utility companys
substation is less than a mile from the arena, which increases
the likelihood and magnitude of switching transients imposed
on the buildings electrical systems. "Also, probability
and magnitude of internally generated transients were a concern
due to the size of the individual motors and other loads connected
to the system," Remerscheid remembers.
Remerscheid and McKim also took the structural design and
geographic location into consideration. "To provide unique
column-free spans, four 350-foot towers and a cable support
system suspend the Alamodomes nine-acre roof,"
explains Remerscheid. "We knew that this increased the
likelihood of lightning strikes since the San Antonio area
is a thunderstorm-prone region. Although the Dome
is equipped with a structural lighting protection system,
we agreed that additional protection was required to dissipate
the destructive forces of lightning that could damage the
From a life-safety standpoint, protection of the computer-driven
fire alarm and smoke control system was essential, as was
continuity of electrical service that runs the computer-based
lightning controls, scoreboards, telecommunications and HVAC
control systems. "Electrical service to the building
is at 13,200 volts, which serves a double-ended substation
located in each building quadrant," explains Remerscheid.
"Because the substations are arranged in main-tie-main
configurations, we installed two Current Technology MP Series
Power Siftorsâ at each of the Domes four electrical
Part of Current technologys expandable network of MasterPLANâ
facility-wide power conditioning and distribution products,
MP Series models feature a high performance suppression system
which provides superior bi-directional, bi-polar power conditioning
and are specifically designed for high-exposure installations.
Engineered with exclusive seamless technology, which
integrates various combinations of suppression and filtration
components to provide maximum performance and greatly extended
product life, all MasterPLAN products are U.S.-manufactured,
UL and CSA approved and protected by Current technologys
Five Year Limited Warranty.
opening day at the Alamodome was May 15, 1993. "It went
without a hitch," says Seb Cennamo, Alamodome facilities
engineer. "Two weeks later we had the Paul McCartney
concert - our first big event - and once again the electrical
systems functioned beautifully. The Current Technology products
are obviously doing their job." Since opening day, the
Alamodome has hosted professional and collegiate football
games, opening ceremonies for the U. S. Olympic Festival,
numerous trade shows and the World Boxing Associations
match up of Pernell Whitaker and Julio Cesar Chavez, which
was broadcast live to millions of boxing fans via pay-per-view
TV. With help from Current Technology, the Domes
bright lights, neon scoreboards, broadcast hook-ups and advanced
HVAC and sound systems performed on command for each of these
events, and can be depended on to do so in the future.