The installation of precast concrete marked the latest milestone for the future home of the San Francisco 49ers, another sign in the rapid construction taking place at the new Santa Clara Stadium site.
“It’s gone extremely well,” Project Executive Jack Hill said on Monday as a gathering of Bay Area media members watched some of the precast concrete being raised into place.
“Frankly, it’s been more rapid than any project I’ve been on because it’s well-organized, there’s a great spirit of cooperation between the Sports Authority, the City, the 49ers and the community,” Hill added. “All of that together makes for a great project.”
Hill estimates 80 of the 2,000 precast concrete pieces have already been installed at the stadium site which is now 22 percent complete with 70 percent of structural steel complete as well.
With the outside of the building taking shape to the untrained eye, the inclusion of precast concrete further drives home the point that the future home of the 49ers will be ready for the 2014 season.
“It starts to feel like a stadium now,” Hill said.
The building will come to life even more in the coming months according to team President Gideon Yu.
“What the fans will see by the end of the year, probably mid-December, the entire steel frame will be built for the stadium,” Yu explained. “It will look like a real stadium at that point.”
Besides the steel frame’s completion and installation of precast concrete, sports lights are starting to be assembled for one side of the building, opposite of the team’s headquarters.
“You’ll start to see the lights going in at the very top of the stadium,” Hill said. “That’ll be exciting. You’ll get a sense of scale, how big the stadium really is.”
The scale of the project is not lost on Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews.
“This is a real source of pride for the entire City of Santa Clara, for the entire region and it should be for the state of California,” said Matthews as he marveled over the remarkable work already done since the stadium’s late-April groundbreaking ceremony.
Matthews, in particular, takes extreme pride from seeing the steady incline of on-site construction workers. Hill estimates that 550 workers visit the site daily, an increase from the 440 workers on site each day in October.
Many of the construction workers are from the region and even wear 49ers jerseys on Fridays as a show of support to the future tenants of the new Santa Clara Stadium.
“They’re smiling and they’re all sporting the colors,” Matthews said. “They realize they’re working on something historic. This is going to be a building that’s iconic to the Silicon Valley and the entire state.”
Matthews expressed his fondness for the project for not only utilizing local construction workers, but for the economic impact it’ll have on the entire region.
“It’s a great thing to see the economic impact it’s having on families,” Matthews pointed out, referring to various companies in the area who’ve been involved in the project. “This has really been an economic engine, not just for Santa Clara but for the whole valley.”
Hill appreciates their efforts as well.
“They’re willing, able and excited about working extra hours,” said Hill, pointing out the aggressive construction schedule that features workers rotating throughout the night at times.
“It shows in the construction because it’s been coming along extremely well.”
The project’s developments remain constant even with the precast element now being the key component to its growth. The building’s concrete slab, however, is more than 50 percent complete with cement already being poured throughout the main concourse.
“It’s incredible,” Yu remarked. “I’ve been here now for almost two years, about a year and a half, and it was still then a dream that we’d get this done by ’15, not 2014. And so by the time we got the financing done and now we’re six months past the actual groundbreaking, it’s amazing to see how fast this thing comes up. Think about this – 80 percent done with the steel in sixth months – that breaks all sorts of crazy records set by our (construction) team that’s already doing this.”
And while the construction workers continue to reach their respective goals for the building, Hill and the other key players in the project can take a brief moment to soak up the latest achievement in the stadium’s construction.
No longer just an endless amount of blueprints on Hill’s desk, the executive can now truly envision the future home of the 49ers.
“For the last three months you’ve seen the frame going up, you’ve seen steel columns and beams go up, but now you’re starting to see the fabric of the skin going on,” Hill said. “Without too much of an imagination you can see where people will be sitting. You can see it start to fill in a little bit.
“That’s what’s fun about today, in less than two years, there will be people sitting in those seats.”