Architectural Signs: Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium
In recent years, millions and millions of dollars have been poured into college football facilities by athletic departments across the country. For better or worse, upgraded complexes are a crucial recruiting point for elite programs in convincing high school recruits to attend their schools. Some universities pursue out-of-the-box enhancements. For example, Alabama’s facility boasts a hydrotherapy room that houses four waterfalls. South Carolina’s complex has a 15-seat movie theater. Defending national champion Clemson’s facility sports a golf simulator, a barbershop and a two-story slide. Yes, a slide!
SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
These sparkling new and renovated facilities have a common basic need: signage, and lots of it, specifically architectural signage. Recently, Fravert Services (Birmingham, AL) completed an extensive architectural signage project with Auburn athletics as part of the $28 million renovation project in and around Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn’s football stadium.
Fravert’s work at Jordan-Hare was extensive, fashioning and installing signage in the recruiting lounge (NFL and Heisman displays, selfie sign, wall graphics); booster club (dimensional letters, wall graphic); press box (dimensional letters with memorial plaques); locker room (fabric wall frames, logos, lighted logo in ceiling, vinyl graphics); Heisman Room (dimensional logo); hallways (etched solid surface displays, lighted dimensional letters, lighted fabric panels, ceiling stripe, wall graphics, acrylic display panels); and to a field-level area (dimensional logo, wall graphics, logo door pulls.) “The project had a tight deadline; the start of football season is not moving,” said Richard Rayburn, president of Fravert. “It started the day of the last football game and extended through the start of the next season. It was right up until last minute getting it done.”
Once the final designs were in-hand – Auburn had hired an outside design firm – Fravert’s in-house design team created production-ready files, which illustrate to the fabrication department how the signs are to be constructed, specifying materials, finishes and paint colors, among other elements. “Sometimes that requires having 3D renderings so the guy on the shop floor understands what the mindset was of the person who did the design,” Rayburn said. “Sometimes in 2D, that can get lost in translation.”
BLUEPRINT FOR BLUE PRINTS
On the shop floor, Fravert has separate work stations and processes set up for its fabrication team, a unit that Rayburn said has to be creative. “They are the true skilled craftsmen. They come from different backgrounds – some built racecars – and they understand how to build different things,” he said. “We do a lot of stuff that is not standard signage.” Among the machines put to use were a ShopSabre router, a Computerized Cutters Accu-Bend channel letter bender, a Roland DGA printer and a Graphtec cutting plotter. The materials list included vinyl from Avery Dennison and 3M; ACRYLITE and Plexiglass acrylic; and wallcoverings from DreamScape and Wolf-Gordon.
Post-fabrication, the signage transitions the finishing area, which drew ample attention on this job because of absolute necessity in perfecting the university’s official colors of orange and blue. Per Auburn’s Style Guide, the school’s official Pantone colors are PMS 158 (recommended by the university for printing orange on paper), PMS 172 (for printing orange on fabrics and plastics) and PMS 289 (for printing blue). Fravert used paint products from AkzoNobel and Matthews Paint for this task.
“When you’re dealing with print colors, paint colors and vinyl colors, and different types of printing – whether it’s a roll-to-roll printer or a flatbed printer – all of those processes are different,” Rayburn said. “Getting all of those colors to align was a challenge.” College football fans are noted not just for their intensity, but for their attention to the minutiae of their preferred school. So, it’s not crazy to think that a passerby or curious online enthusiast could spot color differences. “They’re going to notice if the blue stripe on the left is different from the blue stripe on the right,” Rayburn said.
The scope of the project meant that Fravert’s consultation with the overall renovation’s contractors was key – they needed to make sure that the electricians and plumbers wouldn’t be sharing the same space on the same day. Despite the stress associated with such a large-scale and long-term undertaking, Rayburn said the project was enjoyable: “It was hectic at times, but we can chalk it up in the win column.”
For additional photos of this project, visit Signs of the Times' Facebook page.