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    Ames Trib: Stadium renovation project ahead of schedule

    In today's Ames Trib:

    Stadium renovation project ahead of schedule
    By: Bobby La Gesse
    07/16/2008

    Updated 07/16/2008 11:15:31 AM CDT




    By Ronnie Miller/The Tribune
    Josh Brennan, of Koester Construction, uses a skid loader to move rock while working on renovations to the southwest corner of Jack Trice Stadium.


    Weitz Company project manager Ben Bruns wasn't going to let one of the wettest winter and springs in Iowa history get in his way. The renovation project at Jack Trice Stadium simply had to be finished before the 2008 Iowa State football season started. And thanks to a flexible schedule, the $19.5 million renovation project is scheduled to be completed by its Aug. 1 target goal.
    "Things didn't go exactly as planned because of the weather," said Bruns, a former All-American center at ISU. "You establish a sequence based on how you'd like to complete work, but you have to change it based on the weather.
    "We worked on what the weather allowed us to work on, not necessarily what we wanted to work on."
    From December to February, there was only one week in which snow wasn't on the ground. Contractors and foremen had to watch the weather reports daily to figure out what Mother Nature would allow them to work on in the new suites and restrooms on the west side or the stadium as well as the renovated east club section.
    "When it rains or snows twice a week, it makes it difficult to do a project that takes four or five days of good weather to complete," said Bruns, who is also the Cyclone Radio Network's football sideline analyst. "You had to make the most of the sunny days."
    According to Bruns, the project came in under budget, allowing Phase I of the stadium renovations to also allow for the installation of new guard rails in the upper deck as well as steel on the underside of the upper deck to be painted.
    "This helps to protect the investment of the upper deck and some outstanding bids and creative thinking from the athletic administration on how to spend it let us do a little bit more," Bruns said.
    The renovation began last November after ISU's final home game. ISU has plans for two more phases before the stadium renovation is complete.
    The second phase will focus on the east side of the stadium. Restroom and concession stands will be rebuilt and the east side concourse will be widened. The third phase will turn the south end zone into a horseshoe, where bleachers will replace the hillside seats.
    ISU athletic administration hopes to begin the next phase of construction after the 2008 football season.
    But before then, Bruns must ensure the first phase is completed on time so venders can begin setting up their equipment for the Aug. 28 opener against South Dakota State. And when fans show up to kick off the new season, Bruns believes they'll notice how the new changes make the games more enjoyable for them.
    "A lot of ISU's recent facilities have helped them recruit student-athletes," Bruns said. "This will help with the fan experience. The concourse is wider now. The traffic flow is better. The game-day experience will dramatically improve."



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    Re: Ames Trib: Stadium renovation project ahead of schedule

    I was in Ames today for meetings and stopped by the Jacobson building on the way home to pick up a few more posters - the renovations look great, can't wait for the season to begin.



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    Re: Ames Trib: Stadium renovation project ahead of schedule

    So, it is now three phases and the east side is scheduled for next year. I wonder if this is the good news.



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    Re: Ames Trib: Stadium renovation project ahead of schedule

    The big story here should be that the project came UNDER budget and that allowed for more improvements than originally thought. That is really pretty impressive...great job Ben!



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