Stadium had its cutdown days, too A look at what was deleted to keep project on budget

August 07, 1998|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

For all the features the new football stadium has, there are many items that had to be cut out to keep the $220 million project on budget.

"Money has been the toughest part of this project. The schedule was tight. But money has been very tight," said Maryland Stadium Authority executive director Bruce Hoffman.

The cost of the concrete came in $20 million over budget last year due to disappointing productivity by the contractor and the price pressure of a hot economy. This forced a series of cuts, known as "value engineering" in the business.

It didn't get as bad as the football stadium in Cleveland, where designers dropped hot water service to the bathrooms to save $500,000 until an outcry forced them to put it back in. But it affected the outcome.

Some landscaping and exterior lighting was dropped. A sharp pencil was taken to plans for the heating and air conditioning systems, and the structural frame.

The club lounges have a less expensive ceiling and lights. Distinctive, vertical steel beams on the outside of the park were made slimmer. Escalators to the upper deck were left out for operational as well as budgetary reasons.

The most dramatic element cut was a series of 30-foot-wide, 18-foot-long fabric and steel canopies. These were to hang over the entryways, extending both inside and outside the building, and be spotlighted from above. The effect would have been a glowing, visual "frame" for the arched entrances.

"I fought for the canopies," said Jeff Spear, a project designer for architects HOK Sports Facilities Group.

Had he known the canopies were deleted, he would have changed the horizontal steel beams across the tops of the arches, for example, and eliminated some of the vertical beams there.

Also dropped was a giant raven statue with red, glowing eyes that was to perch on the southwestern corner of the stadium, looking out over Russell Street during the week and rotating inward during games. This $250,000 extra may be added later.

A few other changes happened by accident. Light poles for the parking lot were not delivered on time, so the stadium authority canceled the order -- saving several tens of thousands of dollars -- and recycled old Orioles ones for the Ravens players' parking lot.

"I don't think we lost a major aspect of that building," Spear said. "If you get a BMW without a cell phone, you still have a BMW."

Pub Date: 8/07/98

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