Phillies Sign Installation

Phillies are scoring big thanks to Local 19 members! Together with signatory contractors we’ve been leading renovations at Citizens Bank Park and First Energy Stadium in Reading. Ganter Contractors from Quakertown, and Bensalem-based Compass Sign were front and center in the fabrication and installation of the new video board at Citizens Bank Park which will be 77% bigger when finished! Additionally, Leibold Inc., located in Pottsville, has been working on the expansion at First Energy Stadium that will add clubhouses for both teams, and climate controlled multi-dimensional areas for local businesses and organizations to host events.

Philadelphia area Local 19 signatory contractors have been leading the way in the renovations at both Citizens Bank Park and First Energy Stadium in Reading.

Phillies’ surprising World Series run was an exciting twist for fans, but it also resulted in Ganter and Compass Sign losing over a month right off the bat because it extended the season and delayed work on the project.

“It was a challenging job,” admitted Frank Higgins, sheet metal superintendent for Ganter. “The Phillies went to the World Series and that put us five weeks behind schedule and we still had to be done before the 2023 season started.”

Ganter started after the World Series stripping all the metal skin panels off the original board down to the support beams. Then the iron workers moved in to ensure the integrity of the original structure and installed additional steel to accommodate the new board which, when finished, would be 77% bigger.

“We got back in right around Thanksgiving and were there the entire time to the end, which was probably the second week of March,” Higgins said.

The pace picked up. Swinging stages encircled the structure. The Phillies assumed responsibility for the swings and the trades figured out a system to share their use. Ganter returned to the project, fabricated, and installed all the sub-framing to existing and new steel structure, furnished and installed all new metal panels, and installed all new flashings and louvers.

“The ironworkers went back in to repair and extend the steel support structure to make it bigger, taller, and wider,” said Project Foreman Dave Halikman. “About a month later we went back in to install new hat tracks and fasten all the panels to the steel. There are over 10,000 screws and they all had to be pre-drilled and capped. No tap screws. With the panels we installed, we couldn‘t use pre-tapped. We needed something a little stronger.”

The project moved forward largely without incident. The mild winter was a huge help. Halikman said they only had to contend with snow and ice once and they were able to use leaf blowers to clear the work area. There were a couple of days when high winds created problems but not enough to throw the job off schedule. Ganter had anywhere from six to 10 people on the job on any given day, and when the project was nearing its completion they were working 10 hours a day, seven days a week.

Still, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. An 11th-hour change in the louvers created a bit of panic, but a solution was found quickly.

“We did have a little scare when the louvers had to be changed out at the last minute,” Halikman said. “You have to remember that the board is one big computer and it gets hot so there has to be air moving through there to cool it down. They made some more calculations and determined we had to upgrade to another product. Bob Ganter stepped up, found the right product, and got them in right away.”

Meanwhile, Compass Sign was just as busy, working hand in hand with the other contractors at the site and spending the winter producing the new logo at their facility on Ford Road.

“We were working with the Phillies directly, the Phillies and the general contractor,” said Compass Sign owner Phil Doerle.

Mike Maddalo, the project manager, added they were working on-site at the same time as the other trades, advising them as they were adding the steel until the structure was complete. All the while, the Compass Sign shop was busy creating the new bigger, and brighter logo, one that would be the exact replica of the one on the Phillies uniform.

“The new letters are three feet taller,” Maddalo explained. “The “P” on the old logo was 24 feet tall and on the new one is 27 feet. The old one was installed in 2003. We didn’t do it, another company did but is no longer around. The guys who worked on that one now work for us so they’re proud that they are a part of this.

“On the original video board, the bracket was old school and the old letters were different. They were close but not the exact logo. We didn’t want that. We wanted to create a logo that was a 100% replica of the logo on the Phillies uniform.”

Another difference was the lights on the old board were set three feet deep, but on the new logo, they are six inches from the base, making it brighter. During night games, it really stands out. On the evenings there are other events, like a concert, it can be dimmed so it’s visible but understated.

The letters are constructed with a translucent material stretched over an aluminum frame. The material comes in large rolls and the seams are so subtle they are practically invisible to the fans in the stands and when stretched over the frame it has the elasticity of a trampoline.

“We built them, assembled them, disassembled them, loaded them onto a flatbed, and transported them down to the job site in multiple trips,” Maddalo said.

Installation, including the two Citizens Bank Park signs which Compass Sign refurbished, took around three days. The Phillies logo with each letter connected to the next was installed beginning with the “s” and working left to right back to the “P”.

“The Citizens Bank Park sign on the back went up the first day, the Phillies logo on the second day and Citizens Bank Park on the front on the third day,” Maddolo said. “I’d say the letters (of the Phillies logo) were airborne for about 15 minutes. Then it took a little longer to lock it in place. They’re locked in with about 10-12 bolts.”

What was also removed in the reconfiguration were the four advertising boards on the right side of the old video board and replaced with small boxes over top of the line score display.

“Those four other boards were not changeable so the new board has smaller boxes across the top so they can manage the advertising and it gives the appearance of one big scoreboard,” Doerle said.

The new video board is 152 feet wide, 86 feet tall, and weighs 116.298 pounds. With a 16:9 aspect ratio, it would have the capability of displaying 516 life-size Phillie Phanatics at the same time. With a 4K capable and HDR system utilizing nearly 11.6 pixels with 10 mm pixel spacing, the new board will deliver richer colors with remarkable clarity and fans will have shorter-distance and better viewing angles.

The new video board towers over the left-field stands and Local 19 members worked on nearly every aspect of it from the digital board, to the lettering, to the siding which wraps around the impressive structure.
Higgins said the back of the structure will at some point be covered with a mural. And the best part is, in keeping with Local 19 standards, it was completed on time and under budget.
Meanwhile, in Reading, the Phillies Double-A farm team was faced with a memorandum to upgrade the facilities at the venerable FirstEnergy Stadium or risk losing its affiliation with Major League Baseball. The Reading Fightin Phils originally intended to erect a 27,000 square foot building that would house, among other things, locker rooms for both teams. However, the scope of the project was changed from one building to two, with the total square footage remaining the same.
“The original design called for the home and visiting team clubhouses to be in the same building,” said Susan Albrecht, project manager for Leibold Inc. of Pottsville. She said they received the updated drawings in the middle of April.
“The home clubhouse will have a new locker room, weight room, training area, kitchen, and team dining area, and offices for the coaches and support staff. There will also be a video room, laundry, and an area for storage. The whole second floor will be a ballroom with a kitchen area where they will be able to host events all year round.”
This building stands impressively in right-center field with all signage attached. Meanwhile, inside the building, Leibold workers have begun hanging the duct in the second floor ballroom. A second building is under construction behind it which will house the visiting team clubhouse plus meeting and conference rooms.
Currently, they anticipate being finished by opening day of the 2024 season.

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