New Stadium Nearly Done

Article excerpt

City's long-awaited football shrine likely finished in November

There's no "mission accomplished" banner flying over Investors Group Field just yet, but the construction of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' new home is now expected to wrap in November.

The $190-million football stadium at the University of Manitoba should be substantially completed between Nov. 1 and Nov. 15, officials with the Winnipeg Football Club said this week.

While that's too late for the 2012 Canadian Football League season, the new stadium should be finished in time for the Bombers to vacate Canad Inns Stadium this year and be ready for 2013 in their new home, said Garth Buchko, president and CEO of the football club, and Ossama AbouZeid, the stadium's project manager and a member of the Winnipeg Football Club's board of directors.

With the east-side stands essentially finished and the west side nearing completion, one of the last major components remaining is the construction of the playing surface, a job expected to begin on Sept. 18 and wrap up by Oct. 15, weather permitting, AbouZeid said.

The job involves laying down 60 centimetres of gravel on the playing surface, covering it with 15 cm of rubber pellets and then laying down carpet-like artificial turf on top. Only a disaster will prevent this from getting done early this fall, AbouZeid said.

"To me, a disaster would be if we don't get the field in in October. I don't want to spend the whole winter worrying about the stadium," he said.

Even if Winnipeg experiences a freak early-season blizzard, contractor Stuart Olson Dominion Construction will heat the surface of the new stadium to allow the field to be built during the winter, AbouZeid added.

Along with completing the stands and filling in the field, workers plan to spend the next three weeks finishing administrative offices and several weeks completing luxury suites and the west-side dressing rooms, AbouZeid said.

Most of the work should wrap up by Nov. 1 and all but small jobs will be finished by Nov. 15, he said. Concessions and information-technology systems will be installed early in 2013, Buchko added.

After prematurely announcing the stadium would be ready in time for the 2012 season, the club president was hesitant to say the goal-line is near. …