Thursday, November 11, 1999

Stadium nears final stature

Project on pace for August debut

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        From a distance, it looks as if the new Paul Brown Stadium sprouted skinny, little Tinker Toys on top.

        But those stair-step steel beams will help support about 20,000 seats in the new Bengals stadium. The beams weigh about 10 tons each.

        “That's a lot of steel,” said stadium project manager Daniel Streyle.

        For Bengals faithful like Jim “Bengal Jim” Foster, it's also a lot of progress.

        “I've been waiting for them to get to that point,” said Mr. Foster, president of the Bengals Fan Club. “The diehard fans are really excited about it.”

        The changes people can see outside the stadium are nothing compared with the progress being made daily inside, said Hamilton County Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus.

        “I've had a lot of comments in the past few days that construction is picking up steam,” he said. “And that happens every time there's a dramatic change to the exterior.”

        In all, 36 raker beams will help support precast concrete seating risers for the stadium's upper bowl, Mr. Streyle said.

        The highest seat in the stadium will be about 158 feet from field level, Mr. Streyle said. That's about as high as the top of the lights at Cinergy Field and roughly as tall as a 12-story building.

        But while those seats will be higher, the pitch, or “rake,” of the seats will be more fan-friendly than at Cinergy Field, said Troy Blackburn, the Bengals' director of stadium development.

        The raker beams will be installed over the next couple of months, one quadrant of the stadium at a time. Construction remains on schedule for the $404 million stadium complex to open next August, Mr. Streyle said.


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