Slam Dunk

April 14, 2015 | Kieways 2015 Q1

Kiewit and Creighton University’s partnership of nearly six decades marks a major milestone with the championship center

Tour Omaha, Neb. — where Kiewit was founded in 1884 and still maintains its corporate headquarters — and you’ll see the Kiewit name and Kiewit-constructed facilities throughout town. The company’s history in Omaha has included the construction of stadiums, shopping centers, hospitals, corporate headquarters, zoo exhibits and academic buildings.

One part of the city where Kiewit’s presence is especially noticeable is the campus of Creighton University. In 2014, Kiewit completed its 50th campus project in 59 years. The Championship Center is getting attention not only in Omaha, but also across the country as a top facility for student-athletes.

A strong foundation

Kiewit’s first project for Creighton was a five-story residence hall built in 1955. The past six decades have included construction of various research centers, the School of Dentistry, and Creighton University Medical Center additions and upgrades, among other projects. Kiewit’s first athletic building on campus, the Kiewit Physical Fitness Center, was completed in 1976.

Recently, Kiewit has completed several projects for Creighton Bluejays athletic teams. Morrison Stadium, which hosts Creighton’s men’s and women’s soccer teams, was completed for the university in 2004. Creighton’s teams also use projects built by Kiewit for the city of Omaha. TD Ameritrade Park, home of the NCAA Men’s College World Series, is the home stadium for Bluejays baseball. Men’s basketball games are played in the CenturyLink Center, built by Kiewit in downtown Omaha.

“Knowing the long history Kiewit has with Creighton University — and that this would be our 50th project on campus — definitely motivated our project team,” said Kiewit Project Executive Todd Scholz.

Stacking up against the competition

The Championship Center at Creighton University is used as the primary practice facility for the men’s basketball team, and will also provide a high-quality training facility for all Bluejays teams.

In 2013, construction had already begun when the Bluejays joined the Big East Conference, known for its competitiveness in men’s basketball. After touring other facilities in the conference, school officials concluded they needed to add several additional features to match the new competition.

Ideas from the project team and Creighton officials, players and coaches, along with amenities found around the Big East and other larger programs — such as the University of Oregon and Creighton’s in-state rival, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln — were added to the design. Kiewit worked closely with the architect, DLR Group, to incorporate the changes.

“The design changes and some winter weather presented challenges,” Scholz said. “But we were committed to working together with DLR Group and Creighton to deliver their vision on time, and that’s what we were able to do.”

An overall experience

The state-of-the-art, 42,000-square-foot Championship Center was turned over to Creighton in June 2014. Its main attraction is the D.J. Sokol Gymnasium, featuring the Kyle Korver Courts. The 13,900-square-foot gym includes 12 baskets, with adjustable side hoops that can be used during youth summer camps. But this isn’t simply a gymnasium, and the features don’t end there.

The athletic performance and training centers include a HydroWorx therapy pool and an underwater treadmill. A players’ lounge, locker rooms, video and lecture rooms, offices, conference rooms and academic resource center also are part of the Championship Center.

While the players’ lounge, locker rooms and offices primarily serve the men’s basketball programs, the Athletic Performance Center, Athletic Training Center and Academic Resource Center will serve all student-athletes at Creighton.

“Our goal with the Championship Center was to provide our student-athletes with a facility that not only gives a competitive edge in athletics, but in their studies and overall collegiate experience,” said Steven Brace, associate athletic director for Creighton University. “Kiewit went the extra mile to make sure we were completely satisfied and helped us bring this to life.”


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