Stadium rising on schedule for August opening With seating-bowl work in progress, Ravens' home 'about 65 percent' done

December 15, 1997|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

As the process of closing down Memorial Stadium for the last time begins, the new football stadium downtown is quickly taking shape.

"We're about 65 percent complete," said Alice Hoffman, the Maryland Stadium Authority's project manager for the Ravens stadium.

The $220 million project is on schedule for a planned opening next August for a preseason game. With the majority of the contracts already awarded, the stadium authority believes it can avoid any more overruns on the project, which had been initially projected to cost $200 million.

The upper-deck seating bowl is now being completed, with huge slabs of precast concrete being lowered into place by giant cranes. The entire bowl should be completed by February. The cranes, which have become a familiar sight to passing motorists, then will be dismantled.

Work is also under way on assembling the lower deck, which should be in place by March.

Craftsmen are now completing some of the skyboxes, and the stadium's basement, where the locker rooms and service areas are located, is enclosed and hooked up with power, heat and water.

The brick exterior, which will serve as one of the visual signatures of the structure, is about 75 percent completed. The arches are in and the bricklayers are working on the stair towers.

About 800 workers are on the site, rushing to enclose as many areas as possible so finishing work can be accomplished during the winter.

Compared to Memorial Stadium, the as-yet-unnamed Ravens stadium will be bigger and far more modern. It will seat 68,400 people in both traditional seating and two layers of "luxury seats" -- outdoor, mezzanine-level "club" seats and 108 skyboxes. Memorial seated about 62,000 and had no real skyboxes to speak of.

So far, the Ravens have sold permanent seat licenses, one-time surcharges for season-ticket buyers, for 49,700 tickets at the new stadium. Another 9,300 are for sale, carrying seat-license prices of $300 to $750. Other seats are being withheld for single-game sales, team use and luxury seating.

Pub Date: 12/15/97

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