Norfolk grad plays key role in stadium windows
LINCOLN — Husker fans in Memorial Stadium’s club suites will get to watch the Scott Frost era get under way this season with a nearly unobstructed view through new windows developed by a Lincoln company, with an assist from Nebraska Innovation Studio.
Chad Bloomquist, a Norfolk High graduate and project manager for Glass Edge, combined elements of residential single-hung windows with a component from rolling garage doors to create a completely new design that minimizes window frames, enhancing the view of the action on the field.
When we were working on the East Stadium project, I was looking at these older windows over here and I thought, ‘We could do that better,’ ” Bloomquist said.
Bloomquist and the Lincoln president/co-owner of Glass Edge, Dave Stamper, worked on the design. Glass Edge was started in Norfolk by Chad’s father, Tony Bloomquist, and the company has worked with the university on several big projects, including Nebraska Innovation Campus.
Bloomquist started with a commercial garage door pulley component to lift the large glass window, but that system was much too large. He needed to be able to scale it down. Using the 3D scanner, he was able to make a digital copy of the component to gain crucial information about its proportions.
He spent more than 20 hours in Nebraska Innovation Studio, utilizing the studio’s 3D scanner and drafting programs to get the idea off the ground.
“There are some things you can’t just put a tape measure to, and that gave me a base to start with,” Bloomquist said. “I was able to use the information I gained to assist in the design of the new part and convert it into a format that I could send out and have produced.”
Bloomquist and the Glass Edge team began the official installation of the windows in April. They replaced the glass in 42 suites before the Huskers 2018 season began.
Bloomquist said the new window and pulley system can be replicated to retrofit just about any stadium.
Having access to the equipment available at Nebraska Innovation Studio was invaluable to make the project a reality.
“It was a gamble to try this,” he said. “But having that resource here let us do the design, and the team there helped me learn the scanner and the programs more quickly. It made a difference.
“A business can get off the ground with those resources, which would cost tens of thousands of dollars to purchase yourself.”
Bloomquist said he signed up for a year membership to the studio, which offers three membership levels to students, faculty, staff and the public. Due to the installation schedule at the stadium, he hasn’t made it back since he finished the digital design work.
That will soon change.
“I definitely plan to get back in there to do some work on a few personal projects,” he said. “The wood shop has a lot of capabilities that I’m interested in.”