Under The Dome With The Titans

Nashville team bets on a proven winner for its practice facility.

The dome-specific LED lighting at the Titans’ practice facility is bolstered by a skylight to provide natural lighting.

Air-structure domes are popular for a wide range of athletic applications, from tennis to football. Any activity that benefits from a climate-controlled space can cost-effectively get a long, flexible life from an air-structure dome. Its benefits tend to inspire repeat business, like when the Tennessee Titans football team made the decision to replace and upgrade their practice facility at Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville. The original 70-ft.-high air structure had been in place for more than 17 years and was exhibiting signs of failure. The existing dome was a Tedlar 8029 fabric and although the fabric was holding up well, the biaxial cable system was vulnerable to storm conditions and the lighting, and HVAC system was not up to par for an National Football League facility.

There were several key factors to consider when planning for the new dome. The Titans management wanted something that would last at least as long as the Tedlar 8028 used on the prior structure. In fact, the Tedlar had outlived the original maker of the dome, which no longer makes air structures. They wanted something with a long warranty, but also a proven track record.

UV protection is vital to longevity, so the fabric needed to be able to handle the four seasons and the solar rays. UV light will break down coatings on many fabrics in well under 10 years, degrading the entire dome in the process.

The Titans’ new air structure was successfully completed with 90 ft. of space from ground to ceiling, 20 ft. more than the previous structure. This offers greater versatility and enables the team to suspend the goal posts and other items from the ceiling.

With architectural fabric, looks matter for more than just aesthetics. Accumulated grime and mold break down coatings and destroy fabrics. Self-cleaning products reduce or eliminate this persistent threat and look great while doing it. Most fabrics self-clean well when new, but the ability can fade quickly with time. A product that’s truly self-cleaning throughout its lifetime protects the structure, better retains color, keeps looking great, and makes maintenance easy.

A fabric with very high tensile strength was important to accommodate the cable system and deliver lasting reliable service. The strength of the coating is vital to longevity as well. The Titans organization wanted a coating with an excellent adhesive compound that actually bonds to the fabric to further enhance strength. Supporting U.S. manufacturers whenever possible was also important.

Air Structures American Technologies Inc., Rye Brook, NY, built the new air structure. They have a long history with the NFL, having built 13 previous domes. The fabric used is the same as the prior dome: 8028 Opaque White from Seaman Corp., Wooster, OH. The fabric includes translucent white skylights and a bright-white Tedlar finish.

The new air structure was successfully completed with 90 ft. of space from ground to ceiling. The additional 20 ft. of space offers greater versatility and enables goal posts to be suspended from the ceiling. The cable system reduces the fabric loads in all direction, and the full-bias net allows increased structural rigidity during severe weather events, preventing swaying and possible collapse. The thermal value was increased from R-4 to R-8. The addition of an energy-efficient HVAC unit enables the team to maintain a temperature-controlled environment that features automated controls to increase pressure during storm conditions.

Want more information?

— Peruse a fabric selection guide.

— Get information on football air-structure domes.

— Get information on air domes for tennis facilities.

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