Engineering the Bearcats' New Home

By:    Brandon Pytel
Date: February 14, 2018    

One engineering student gained invaluable experience—and a full-time job after graduation—working on the Fifth Third Arena renovation project. 

Alex Bach stands in front of the interior dome of the Fifth Third Arena.

Alex Bach has accepted a full-time job with Skanska, one of the companies managing the Fifth Third Arena renovation project.

Fifth Third Arena, home of the Bearcats’ beloved basketball and volleyball teams, is undergoing a big renovation. $87 million dollars big. And through the University of Cincinnati (UC) cooperative education (co-op) program, a College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) student has contributed to these renovations firsthand.  

Alex Bach, construction management ’18, spent his last two co-op rotations with Skanska, one of the companies managing the Fifth Third renovation project, and is working part-time on-site until he graduates in April. After that, he will continue to work on the project until its completion—he has already accepted a full-time positon with the company’s Cincinnati division. 

“It has been a great experience working on a really unique project,” said Bach. “It is incredibly rewarding to see the behind the scenes work and how it all fits together.”

For the past several months, Alex has worked in document controls, coordinating plans and submittals between subcontractors and the architects and engineers working on the project. Whenever a new plan is submitted, whether that be for concrete mix designs or new fixtures, it goes through Bach.

“It is interesting to see how the contracts drive the construction process,” he said. “Being on a high profile job like this and having an insider’s view has taught me so much about the construction field.”

Interior of Fifth Third Arena under construction.

The Fifth Third Arena renovation project is scheduled for completion by the start of the 18-19 season.

This insider’s view includes seeing and contributing to the biggest renovation in the basketball arena’s 30-year history. The renovation will add new club and luxury seats, hospitality areas, a modernized building façade, a new HD scoreboard and sound system and much more. (For a full list of amenities, check out the Fifth Third Arena Project website.)

And the CEAS co-op program made it all possible. 

“The co-op program has been tremendous,” said Bach. “I have learned interview skills, traveled across the country and signed my job offer eight months before graduating—without co-op, none of that would have happened.”

As the semester wraps up, Bach will continue splitting time between classes and the renovation project. Reflecting on his experience at UC, he thinks about the lasting impact his work will have.

“As a student, I can use everything I have learned on-site in my future career. But it is a lot more than that,” he said. “Years from now, when my family and friends see the Bearcats play, I can say, ‘I had a part in that.’”