Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It's a Date Blues to Open Next Season at Kiel Center

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It's a Date Blues to Open Next Season at Kiel Center

Article excerpt

Barring a construction catastrophe, it's now official. The Blues have played their last hockey game at The Arena.

Next stop, the $170 million Kiel Center, which will open ahead of schedule.

In a joint news conference with the Kiel Center Partners, the Blues said Thursday that they will open the 1994-95 season Oct. 11 at the Kiel Center. And what better opening opponent in the new building than the archrival Chicago Blackhawks?

There's a certain symmetry to the Oct. 11 date as well. The Blues of Glenn Hall and Bob Plager and Larry Keenan played the first game in franchise history on Oct. 11, 1967, at The Arena.

The Kiel Center originally was scheduled to open in November or December this year. The first excavation took place just 16 months ago, but construction is now 75 percent complete, and the project is on track to be completed in 21 months.

"The typical construction period for an arena such as this is anywhere from 24 to 30 months," said Jud Perkins, president and chief executive officer for the Kiel Center Partners, a group of businesses that own the building.

"The new Chicago stadium and new arena in Cleveland will be open for the start of their respective sports seasons this fall, and both of those buildings started six to eight months ahead of Kiel Center.

"So we've been charging from behind and have managed to catch both of those projects."

How did the Kiel Center play catch-up?

Ed Calcaterra, president of J.S. Alberici Construction Co., said the keys were access, concrete and the roof.

A bridge was built underneath the main concourse to facilitate access - the moving of material and equipment.

Work on the precast concrete seating was done on a second shift so as not to disrupt other work.

Steel trusses for the roof were pre-assembled in the Alberici yard in Pine Lawn, then transported to the construction site in the wee hours of the night. …

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