News & Insights

President’s Corner: Sports Design Projects Focus on Innovation and Sustainability

Kimley-Horn President Steve Lefton reflects on the sustainable, innovative designs for some past and current sports design projects across the country.
Steve Lefton, PLA, AICP

Steve Lefton, PLA, AICP

Kimley-Horn President

As a former college lacrosse player and now a coach for my daughter’s lacrosse team, sports have always been a passion of mine that I’ve enjoyed outside of the office. With the recent surge in sports stadium design projects in the U.S., I’ve been able to see this passion intersect with my team’s work at Kimley-Horn. Team owners and other stakeholders are seeking more sustainable, innovative designs for their sports stadiums, golf courses, athletic complexes, and more. This has resulted in reduced operation costs and an increased need for civil engineers, landscape architects, planners, and environmental scientists to provide their expertise.

divider Engineering News-Record (ENR) recently released its annual rankings for engineering, design, and environmental companies based on revenue, ranking Kimley-Horn #8 in sports design. In honor of this recognition, I’d like to highlight a few of our past and current sports design projects across the country:
  • Mercedes-Benz Stadium | As the first of its kind to be awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia offers several green features, including a Kimley-Horn-designed 680,000-gallon cistern. The cistern aids in irrigation and mechanical water makeup—managing stormwater runoff and off-setting potable water demand. The 71,000-seat stadium is home to the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC.
  • The Star in Frisco | A $1.5 billion world-class, sports-related campus in Frisco, Texas, The Star in Frisco is a 91-acre mixed-use development. The centerpiece of the campus is the Ford Center—a 12,000-seat indoor multi-use events center—and the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters. Surrounding developments include a 300-key Omni hotel, the Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy and Research Center at The Star, a luxury high rise urban living building, and the 13-acre Shops at The Star Entertainment District. Kimley-Horn has been involved since initial project planning by providing civil engineering and landscape architecture services.
  • BB&T Ballpark | This 10,000-seat stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina is home to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights and included revitalization efforts and streetscape improvements for the ballpark’s surrounding Uptown area. Kimley-Horn provided planning, site civil, landscape architecture, urban design, utilities updates, traffic engineering, and off-site roadway services for the $54 million-dollar project.
What’s currently on Kimley-Horn’s design boards:
  • Las Vegas Stadium | Designed to hold 65,000 seats, the Las Vegas Stadium will be the new home of the NFL Raiders beginning in 2020. Kimley-Horn serves as the civil engineer for this $1.9 billion stadium. The project is on-time and on-budget, with about $4 million of construction completed on-site each day.
  • Crystal Lagoons | This past summer, Epperson—a master-planned community in Wesley Chapel, Florida—opened the first Crystal Lagoon in the United States. Crystal Lagoons—a leader in water innovation and technology—uses an environmentally sustainable approach to offer crystal-clear waters for swimming, kayaking, and other water sports. Kimley-Horn provided civil, mechanical, electrical, and structural design services for this Crystal Lagoon project and continues to help with its expansion in more than 12 locations across the U.S.
These projects could never have come to fruition without the amazing architects and project partners we’ve been able to work with:
  • Mercedes-Benz Stadium: HOK Architecture
  • The Star in Frisco: Gensler, O’Brien Architects, Perkins+Will, Manhattan Construction, Blue Star Land, and the City of Frisco
  • BB&T Ballpark: Odell Architecture
  • The Las Vegas Stadium: HNTB, MANICA Architecture, Mortenson, and McCarthy
This is an exciting time for the world of sports design, and I’m thrilled that Kimley-Horn’s team of professionals is at the forefront providing innovative and sustainable designs for our clients.  To find out more about Kimley-Horn’s sports and entertainment design services, be sure visit our Sports & Entertainment web page.


Get in touch with our Sports and Entertainment specialists.