Gopher green

A robust building management system provides environmentally-friendly security at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium


Every fall, more than 50,000 football fans gather in the new TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis to cheer on the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Thankfully, the only thing that fans really have to worry about is what's on the scoreboard. Their security and safety is being managed and monitored by some of the most innovative technology and design strategies available.

As the first Big Ten stadium to be constructed since 1960, TCF Bank Stadium was designed as an open-air, horseshoe-shaped bowl with a collegiate look and feel. The stadium is oriented to take advantage of the views of downtown Minneapolis. Completed in July 2009, the University has received LEED Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first LEED-certified collegiate or professional football facility in the country.

While football games fill the TCF Bank Stadium schedule every fall, the facility also hosts concerts and other events including banquets and private meetings for groups of 20 to 500 all year long. With such a wide variety of facility functions, the security solution needed to provide a scalable level of programming necessary to manage these events and meet the needs of individuals and groups that use the stadium, as well as accommodate the needs of local law enforcement.

When construction began in 2007, university officials looked to Johnson Controls to employ the best practices of systems integration to meet their security objectives.

Since the company was already leading efforts to implement building automation and energy management technologies across the university's two campuses, project managers recognized the need for security and fire alarm systems that would be integrated into the building management system (BMS). This integration enables the security department to monitor and control the systems from a single user interface. In the fall of 2009, the systems were integrated with the newest Metasys 5.0 building management system.

With a vendor-neutral and future-ready design process top-of-mind, the integration project included installation of a BMS IP network, a Johnson Controls IFC2-3030 fire alarm system with digital voice evacuation, 32 amplifiers, active smoke control using exhaust fans and stairway pressurization, emergency paging, Software House access control, seven American Dynamics digital video recorders, 96 Pelco cameras and a matrix switch.

But what truly sets the security process at TCF Bank Stadium apart from other stadiums is its command-and-control capabilities. During regular operations, access control at the stadium is monitored 24/7 by the University's Department of Central Security, which manages system-wide access control across the University of Minnesota campuses.

But all of the equipment and systems at the stadium can also be controlled from a primary command center on the ground level, as well as a remote command center, both installed by Johnson Controls.

Game Day Security

On game days, the flexibility of the command-and-control capabilities is vital to successful operations. Security and fire personnel move from the primary command center to the remote command center, where they have a much better overview of everything happening in the stadium. Emergency paging and live and pre-recorded public address messages can be initiated from either location. The University Police Department also has a temporary police station onsite at the stadium for use on game days. Personnel in this office also have access into the security technologies available.

This strategic design is critical to operations during large events, as emergency response leaders have access to the Metasys Building Management System, fire and security systems with a full view of the seating bowl. The operational team can monitor activity, communicate and make decisions jointly as needed, as well as quickly communicate with satellite security stations, such as parking and traffic control.

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