American Family Insurance Amphitheater at Summerfest

American Family Insurance Amphitheater at Summerfest
American Family Insurance Amphitheater at Summerfest

Improvements to the massive outdoor concert facility at Henry Maier Festival Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront are designed to enhance the overall fan experience as well as provide expanded production capabilities to accommodate the largest artists and tours. The $50 million project will transform the venue for the next generation of music fans.

The American Family Insurance Amphitheater renovation is being completed over two years. The first phase of construction was completed in time for Summerfest 2019. It focused on raising a portion of the existing roof from 39 feet up to 65 feet, along with new dressing rooms, production office space, band dining areas, electrical upgrades, and backstage production facilities.

The second phase will include new food and beverage options, restrooms, increased accessibility, and a new seating bowl with the same capacity of 23,000. It will be finished in time for Summerfest 2020.

Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) is the lead architectural firm for the design of the new American Family Insurance Amphitheater and Hunzinger Construction Company is managing the construction.

“This project is very special to me because I ran the construction crews that built the amphitheater 32 years ago and I am here again supervising this amazing renovation,” said Joel Becker, vice president of field operations for Hunzinger.

“This roof structure was lifted with eight strand jacks using the amphitheater’s permanent structural system,” Becker said. “It’s a very high tech, efficient and safe method that required constructing a minimal temporary structure to accomplish the lift. Each strand jack’s capacity varies from 95 tons to 201 tons, depending on location. The strand jacks work in unison, controlled by a computerized master panel. This system allows the roof structure to be lifted gradually and uniformly. After our work is complete, the America Family Insurance Amphitheater will endure as a premier venue for years.”

FAST FACTS:

  • Hunzinger built the original amphitheater in 1987
  • Raised the roof from 39 feet to 65 feet
  • Half of the current roof was raised, 24,100 square feet (1/2 acre), weighing 607,000 pounds.
  • Ace Iron furnished the “roof raise” steel, which included 23,500 square feet of new roof deck and 140 tons of new steel.

OTHER BUSINESSES INVOLVED:

  • ALE HeavyLift  (Houston)
  • SPE  (Little Chute, Wis.)
  • Ideal Crane Rental (Wauwatosa)
  • Staff Electric (Menomonee Falls)
  • Dawes Rigging & Crane Rental (Milwaukee)
  • CSD Structural Engineers (Milwaukee)
  • Professional Services Inc. (PSI) (Waukesha)

WORKERS REQUIRED TO MAKE THE RENOVATIONS:

Raising the amphitheater roof to almost twice the height of the original roof was a challenging feat. It called for pre-planning and precision execution that involved engineering analysis and highly skilled tradespeople.

Here are some of the necessary jobs and their training requirements as well as their earning potential.

Architect
5-year college degree
Salary range: $50,000-$150,000

Interior designers
4- to 5-year college degree
Salary range: $50,000-$150,000

Structural engineers, civil engineers, and mechanical, electrical, plumbing engineers
4-5 year college degree in their engineering field
Salary range: $50,000-$150,000

Project managers work for construction firms
4-year college degree in engineering, architectural or construction management field
Salary range: $50,000-$150,000

Project engineers (assistant project managers) work for construction firms
4-year college degree in engineering or construction management field
Salary range: $50,000-$150,000

Field superintendents
Desired 2- or 4-year degree in construction management or engineering field. Typically come up through the trades and have completed a 4-year apprenticeship with about 10 years of experience working in the field.
Salary range: $65,000-$120,000

General laborers
OSHA 10-hour safety course and typically some technical school training
Apprenticeship training 2 years
Salary range: $60,000-$80,000

Carpenters
OSHA 10-hour safety course and typically some technical school training
Apprenticeship training 4 years
Salary range: $65,000-$90,000

Masons
OSHA 10-hour safety course and typically some technical school training
Apprenticeship training 4 years
Salary range: $65,000-$90,000

Electricians
OSHA 10-hour safety course and a degree from technical school training as an electrician
Apprenticeship training 4 years
Typical salary range: $80,000-$100,000

Plumbers
OSHA 10-hour safety course and a degree from technical school training as a plumber
Apprenticeship training 4 years
Typical salary range: $65,000-$100,000

Mechanical
OSHA 10-hour safety course and a degree from a technical school training in HVAC installation
Apprenticeship training 4 years
Typical salary range: $65,000-$100,000

Ironworkers
OSHA 10-hour safety course and typically some technical school training
Apprenticeship training 4 years
Typical salary range: $60,000-$90,000

Operators
OSHA 10-hour safety course and typically some technical school training
Apprenticeship training 4 years
Typical salary range: $65,000-$90,000

Glazers (glass installation)
OSHA 10-hour safety course and typically some technical school training
Apprenticeship training 4 years
Typical salary range: $60,000-$90,000

Roofers
OSHA 10-hour safety course and typically some technical school training
Apprenticeship training 4 years
Typical salary range: $60,000-$90,000

Painters, carpet, flooring and tile installers
OSHA 10-hour safety course
Apprenticeship training 4 years
Typical salary range: $45,000-$80,000

Video & sound equipment installers
OSHA 10-hour safety course and typically a degree from a technical school
Training in electronics or computers
Typical salary range: $65,000-$90,000

Landscapers (laborers)
OSHA 10-hour safety course and typically some technical school training
Apprenticeship training 2 years
Typical salary range: $60,000-$80,000

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