Gopher green

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.

Each stadium command center features a robust video surveillance system and is tied into the central campus command center near the stadium where additional emergency personnel from the Department of Central Security can take over if necessary. The flexibility of the integrated systems not only improves safety and security, it allows university personnel to deliver it more efficiently.

This approach is especially beneficial for command center operators, who use the access control system to delegate access for 20 different types of security profiles based on user responsibilities and the type of event being monitored. The system can be monitored by a single person or as many as needed based on the occupancy load of any given event.

The University also worked with Johnson Controls and local jurisdiction to establish modified guidelines for their fire alarm sequencing procedures. Through testing and verification, based on the size of the facility, a realistic time was established for personnel to verify fire alarms before a general alarm is sounded. The IFC2-3030 fire alarm panel software was rewritten by Johnson Controls engineers to allow for the change.

Beyond Stadium Safety: Integration Across the University System

The TCF Bank Stadium construction project is a part of the larger campus-wide approach to comprehensive security and building systems integration, as well as energy management taking place at the University of Minnesota. The university serves more than 66,000 students and employs more than 18,500 staff and faculty at its Twin Cities and Duluth campuses, which feature more than 320 buildings. Throughout the University system, more than 1,500 card readers, 1,400 cameras and 10 emergency intercom systems monitor multi-campus operations.

Johnson Controls installed a multi-vendor head-end workstation to integrate a number of legacy building automation systems, which controlled 28,000 physical points. This forward-thinking step bridged the gap between disparate systems, maximized the University's return on investment, and created a migration path to newer technologies.

Committed to continued integration, the University began migrating to BACnet-compatible equipment and replacing legacy control systems with the Johnson Controls Metasys BMS. The system is now a common user interface from which nearly 60,000 physical points are monitored and controlled. It is recognized as the largest application of the Metasys system in North America.

The University has implemented stringent BACnet compatibility standards including intrinsic alarming. About 80 percent of the University's building systems operate on BACnet, which allows integration of equipment from a variety of vendors including Johnson Controls, Siemens, Honeywell, Trane, Delta, McQuay, Nexsys, Phoenix and Tridium. As older equipment is replaced over time, BACnet-compatible equipment is installed in its place.

The BACnet implementation enables the University to centrally monitor and control all building systems using the BMS system as a single-seat user interface with a Web-enabled user interface. As the university continues to upgrade to BACnet-compatible equipment, it can be easily integrated into the head-end.

Nearly 120 different University personnel use the Johnson Controls Metasys BMS to manage security and building systems across campus. While many of these users are facilities staff who access the system at a supervisory level, others use the BMS system as a tool in their daily jobs.

Regular training on system and equipment upgrades enable university staff to remain self-sufficient, while the commitment to using BACnet-compatible equipment and the BMS system's open architecture provide flexibility in purchasing. Security managers can purchase systems and equipment from a variety of vendors and have the flexibility to shop for equipment with the best value and lowest lifecycle costs.

With a goal of being one of the top research universities worldwide, the precise control and security of critical environments is paramount. The impact of unreliable building control systems on the research itself is obvious. Secondary risks include a negative impact on the ability to recruit researchers, students and to obtain grant funds. The many building control systems on campus are used to control lighting and climate systems and equipment in all these environments.

A Championship Security Solution

From their mobile command and control capabilities to a fully integrated approach, it is clear that the team at TCF Bank Stadium and University of Minnesota are at the top of their league when is comes to the best practices in security innovation. They understand that the technologies work best when integrated with an efficient BMS that is scalable and future ready.

For nearly two decades, the Facilities Management Department and security teams have worked with Johnson Controls to integrate security and building management systems, resulting in continued security, operational, and energy efficiencies that support the University's future goals.

Derek Hillestad is director of stadium operations for TCF Bank Stadium.