Nov 30, 2011

Rose Bowl's press box reconstruction in full swing

by Brenda Gazzar, Staff Writer - November 30, 2011

Pasadena - Rose Bowl construction workers have been busily pouring concrete and erecting massive steel beams for a new $75 million press box that is starting to take shape.

The existing press box will be substantially rebuilt and is the focal point of the iconic stadium's $156 million renovation that began in January.

Once complete, it will nearly quadruple in size and accommodate three times more premium seats than it does now.

It's also considered the most complex portion of the three-year renovation project.

“It's been going exactly how we thought” it would, said Bernards/Barton Malow superintendent Chris Pomey.

“We're on schedule and anxious for the Rose Bowl Game to happen (on Jan. 2) so we can start the next phase of demolition and rebuilding and hurry up before the next UCLA season.”

A total of 3.6 million pounds of structural steel will be used for the press box reconstruction, with about 320,000 pounds erected so far for the press box “core,” Pomey said.

Vast quantities of concrete have also been poured for the first- and second-level foundations on the north and south end, he said.

Workers will demolish and rebuild the bulk of the building after the Rose Bowl Game and ahead of the 2012 UCLA football season, said Rose Bowl CEO and General Manager Darryl Dunn.

By September, the exterior of the new structure will be complete, Dunn said. While the partly completed interior will be able to accommodate the media and premium seat holders, it won't be finished until the spring of 2013, he said.

Stadium officials recently voted to do the remaining press box work in one continuous phase rather than a two-phase plan in which the south wing would have been demolished and rebuilt one year and the north side in the next.

The changes were made as part of a plan to cap quickly escalating costs.

“We think that improves our timeline and scheduling tremendously,” Dunn said.

The press box is considered key to the renovation's long-term success because it will generate revenue to fund improvements such as widened tunnels, new bathrooms and upgraded utilities, Dunn said.

That “is why we really want to be sure that this building is being built right," he said. "At the end of the day, that building will be an incredible improvement to the stadium.”

In recent months, four south tunnels have been widened to improve access, a new 78-foot-by-30-foot LED video board and ad panels have been erected and a scoreboard has been built to recall the 1940s-era scoreboard.

Next year, four north tunnels will also be widened, three gates will be replaced, and four new concession stands will be completed.

In 2013, additional gates will be replaced and new restrooms will be completed at the south end zone. In addition, a field hedge that will act as a barrier between fans and the playing field will also be completed.

The Rose Bowl renovation is still facing a $16 million financing gap.