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The house that Michael built.

Indiana companies to put new roof over Jordan.

When Michael Jordan goes up for his first slam in The United Center, the arena his team will move into next year, he will have some Indiana companies to thank for the Chicago Bulls' new digs.

Indeed, several Indiana construction firms are carving niches for themselves in the world of sports-facility construction. General-contracting duties at The United Center are a joint venture involving Indianapolis-based Huber Hunt & Nichols. Also, Midland Engineering Co., a South Bend roofing and sheet- metal contracting firm, is the roofing contractor at the center.

Landing such contracts is a big deal for these companies, but it's not a big surprise. Huber Hunt & Nichols does more business constructing sports venues than any other company in the world. Its many projects have included the Super Dome in New Orleans, the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis and Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. In addition to The United Center in Chicago, the company currently is working on the Alamo Dome in San Antonio as well as several smaller arenas.

The 70-year-old Midland Engineering, meanwhile, is no stranger to sports construction projects, either. Among other things, it applied the roof to the new Comiskey Park on the south side of Chicago and also roofed Coveleski Stadium, the home of the South Bend White Sox minor-league baseball team.

The United Center, which also will be home to the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League, will seat 21,500 for basketball. Some 3,000 of those seats will be in 216 luxury suites, designed with top-flight amenities and located as close as 19 rows above the playing floor. Those who have gone to Bulls games at the old Chicago Stadium will be pleased to know that the new center will have three times the restroom space, with special emphasis on the women's rooms.

Above all this will be Midland's roof, with more than 200,000 square feet of white reinforced polyvinyl chloride material. Midland also will install 30,000 square feet of multicolored, prefabricated steel honeycomb panels to the building's facade.

Meanwhile, Fort Wayne's "Field of Dreams," the $5 million Allen County Memorial Stadium, will open April 19 when the minor- league Fort Wayne Wizards take the field in their first home game.

For nearly a decade now, Fort Wayne has been trying to attract minor-league baseball back to the city. That effort struck pay dirt more than a year ago when the community attracted the Kenosha Twins, a Single A franchise that's been renamed the Fort Wayne Wizards and will play the 1993 season in the Midwest League.

Able Ringham Moake Park, a Fort Wayne and Indianapolis architectural firm, designed the stadium. The permanent grandstand seats 4,000, and another 1,900 bleacher seats are located down the left-field line. The park will provide a family atmosphere, notes Dick Moake, a principal. "There's a picnic garden down the right-field line. You can be pretty close to the field," he says. The Wizards, he adds, have already sold 1,200 season tickets. "There's a lot of excitement here in Fort Wayne."
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Indiana's construction firms build The United Center for Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Mar 1, 1993
Words:514
Previous Article:Tell your kid to jam it.
Next Article:1992 - a good year for Indiana.
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