Utilities, groundwork nearly complete for new football stadium

By Gus Bode

Construction crews have been back to work on Saluki Way, making up for lost time because of rain delays.

Nearly all of the groundwork and most of the site utilities have been finished for the new football stadium roughly two months after officials first broke ground on the project, said Phil Gatton, director of Plant and Service Operations.

Gatton said dirt has been hauled into the future site of the stadium to support its structure and design. Despite the weather, Gatton said construction has had no problems in terms of falling behind schedule.

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‘These days when it’s been warm and windy the site has dried out pretty quickly,’ Gatton said. ‘The contractors have been really good about working when they can.’

The dirt implementation, which is called land grading, is the reshaping of the ground surface and is also used in the management of storm water runoff during and after construction.

Saluki Way is the massive overhaul on the east side of campus. The first phase carries a price tag of $83 million with $20 million coming from a tax imposed by the city of Carbondale, $41.5 million coming from student fees and the remaining $21.5 million coming through private donations.

Tom Hegar, project manager with management firm JE Dunn Construction, said the grading is being done to prepare for implementing footings and foundations.

‘We’re basically to the point where we’ll start footings in a couple of weeks,’ Hegar said. ‘We’re pretty far along.’

Hegar said the structures for the press box and athletic building should also be started by the end of summer.

Jeremiah Migas, a senior from Golconda studying mechanical engineering, said he hopes to witness concrete being moved into the new football stadium by the time he returns for his last semester in the fall.

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‘I’m definitely curious to see what happens,’ Migas said. ‘Hopefully, by the end of the summer they will have some concrete and something erected that we can look at.’

Migas said he likes to see equipment on site every day and it seems like the construction companies are working hard to finish the project.

Gatton said that is exactly what is about to happen, as concrete work should begin in the coming weeks. He said there is also a possibility that steel work will begin by the end of summer.

‘Hopefully by the end of the summer we will start to see some steel show up and you will start to see the structure of the building itself,’ he said.

Associate Athletic Director Jason King said he also expects to begin erecting the addition to the SIU Arena during the summer. The addition will include administrative offices as well as facilities for football and men’s and women’s basketball, he said.

Stile Smith can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 268

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