These days, all eyes are on downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, location
of the new $524 million, state-of-the-art Fiserv Forum – the eye-catching,
multi-purpose arena, which is home to the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and the
Marquette University Golden Eagles men’s basketball team. The 714,000
square-foot facility is not only the city’s new central hub for sports and
entertainment, it is expected to serve as an anchor and catalyst for Milwaukee’s
With such lofty goals for the multi-purpose venue, it was
imperative that the arena’s architect and general contractor ensure that the
new jewel in Milwaukee’s downtown was constructed with materials and equipment
second-to-none. To that end, as designs and blueprints for the 17,500-person-capacity
facility were being drafted, the Milwaukee Bucks quickly reached out to A. O.
Smith Corporation to handle the facility’s hot water needs.
To address the majority of the arena’s hot water needs, the
architect’s plans called for two custom-manufactured, truck-sized stainless
steel steam units weighing 6,100 pounds each, as well as 19 additional standard
water heater tanks to handle the concession areas at the outskirts of the
‘There are very few manufacturers who would be able to
deliver on an order like this,” said Peter Bibby, a representative from
Soderholm and Associates. “Because of A. O. Smith’s nimbleness, they were able
to quickly understand and address the Milwaukee Bucks’ needs.”
Start to finish, it took A. O. Smith 12 weeks to manufacture
the two custom 120” x 72” steam units, which have the capacity to push out 2,000
gallons of hot water at 140 degrees each hour, or approximately 50 times that
of an average residential water heater tank. And, ultimately, given the
enormity of the steam units, the architect altered the size of the doors to the
utility room where the units are housed.
“This was hardly a standard installation,” said Bibby. “It
takes a lot of know-how, skill and organization for a plumber to handle a job
of this size and scope. It was impressive for Hooper Corporation to make it
happen seamlessly and as quickly as they did.”
Additionally, installation of the units at the arena
required a few additional steps. That’s because all the water heating units are
integrated into the building’s smart integrated controls system, which will
trigger an immediate text message to the arena’s operations team, should the
water temperature in the tanks ever drop below a recommended value.
Hooper Corporation’s Ryan Friedrich is pleased to have been
part of such a momentous project and credits A. O. Smith’s top notch products
and the stellar teamwork of all involved.
“It was such a pleasure to work with Peter Bibby and A. O.
Smith on this project,” said Friedrich. “Because of their know-how and
professionalism, the project went really, really well. We were able to get all
the units in place and hooked up with no major issues, which is quite
impressive, given the scope of the project.”
The End Result
The Milwaukee Bucks’ director of facilities, Todd Gamster,
who started in his role mid-way through the arena’s construction, echoed the
sentiment. While Gamster wasn’t around when the facility’s blueprints were drawn
up, as a former plumber, he was thrilled to see that A. O. Smith had been specifically
sought out to address the arena’s hot water needs.
“Knowing that we have a reputable company representing our
hot water needs is a great thing,” said Gamster. “I can breathe easier knowing
that they don’t have to worry about the arena’s hot water, which is critical to
our operation’s success. These A. O. Smith units are about as close to
maintenance-free as you can get.”
In the end, with the A. O. Smith steam units and tanks in
place in the Fiserv Forum, it means a nearly endless hot water supply for the
restrooms, kitchens, concession areas, as well as the team locker rooms, where
the showers are nearly two feet taller than those in an average home.
“Make no mistake. The
products and the technology in this arena are state of the art,” said Gamster.
“We’ve truly set the standard here for what other facilities around the globe
will be aiming for in future years. To me, as a former plumber, it is a given
that A. O. Smith is part of the mix.”