Real Salt Lake stadium nears completion

Construction crews are praised for quick work

Published: Tuesday, June 24 2008 12:04 a.m. MDT

Alan, left, and Adam Jones, the first season ticket holders for the new stadium, check out the view from their front-row midline seats with Leo the Lion.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SANDY — Coordinating construction of the Real Salt Lake stadium has been as complicated as orchestrating and conducting a symphony, said Layton-Turner Construction project manager Jake Greenland.

But the effort has been a great opportunity, and the result will be a charming structure and a great community asset, he said.

"Not too many of these things come your way, so you take them when you get a chance," Greenland told the Deseret News during a private tour of the stadium Monday.

Since February, white Teflon covers have been stretched over the stadium's skeleton while walls and stairways have taken shape. Finish work, such as painting and tile-laying, is ongoing.

Each of the elements has been dependent on several other elements, Greenland said. "You have to do this before that, before that."

Hard hats, safety glasses and neon-orange vests are still required in the area, but the stadium is getting closer to completion with each scrape of a trowel and twist of a screwdriver.

Recent accomplishments have been the bolting in thousands of red, white, blue and yellow seats and cabinet work in the luxurious locker rooms.

Tireless work also has gone into the suites and exclusive hospitality areas of the stadium. The club area, which includes an outdoor patio, is ready for finish work, and the suites are being prepared for customization.

The suites and private clubs will be available only to the highest-paying fans, said RSL spokesman Trey Fitz-Gerald, who called the amenities value-added features that allow for world-class service.

The "VIP" guests also will have special parking and their own entrance on the stadium's southwest side.

For those fans, ticket prices will far exceed the pricing at Rice-Eccles Stadium, where Real Salt Lake now plays. But for 80 percent of the 20,000 seats, prices will be comparable, said RSL chief ticketing officer Kris Katsaenes.

The two-story owner's suite is not as far along as some of the other suites, but it promises to be luxurious. Dave Checketts' digs will have private bathrooms, a stairway and an outdoor platform just above the players' midfield entrance.

The structure is about 80 percent complete, Greenland said. It will be nearly complete by the stadium's first game Oct. 9 and finished by late fall. Contractors, working with RSL owners as well as architects and designers, have completed all their work on time or ahead of time, said Layton Construction spokesman Alan Rindlisbacher.

Some deadlines have been adjusted while the contractors waited for elements such as design and funding to be complete, Rindlisbacher said. For example, design of a stage on the stadium's south end was only finished about a month ago, and plans for signage are still incomplete.

Crews have done extraordinary work to get the stadium ready to go within about 18 months, Rindlisbacher said. Last summer, temperatures on the work site reached 130 degrees, when the hot sun reflected off fresh concrete. Conversely, over the hard winter, men had to use propane torches to melt ice off the stairs.

"We're a 12-month-a-year contractor," Rindlisbacher said.

This morning, rolls of special sod several feet wide and 40 feet long will be placed on the field. In the past two months, the ground has been carefully prepared by daily watering. After today, only landscapers will be allowed on the field for 60 days.

"The stadium is just going to come alive," Fitz-Gerald said.

Season tickets for 2009 go on sale July 1. For information, visit realsaltlake.com.


E-mail: rpalmer@desnews.com

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