Concrete Bowl In Place In West End Zone At Oklahoma State

Tuesday, October 16th 2007, 7:15 am

By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Just in time for Oklahoma State's homecoming game against No. 25 Kansas State, construction crews were finishing up concrete work Monday on the west end zone project at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Workers were leveling concrete rows where seats will be installed in the final triangular wedge connecting the bowled western section of the stadium with the north stands, but there are no longer any gaps in the bowl structure.

``As far as laymen looking at it, it's pretty well done,'' said Jim Heley, Flintco Constructive Solutions' senior project manager for the stadium renovation. ``You can walk on it. It's not ready for 60,000 or 50,000 fans yet, but it's all in place and it's safe to walk on.''

Crews have finished work on the concrete slab for the ground level that also serves as the ceiling for underground areas for conditioning, locker rooms and other purposes. Water can still get into the basement through holes that will eventually house escalators and through drain lines that aren't yet completed.

Heley said about 46 percent of the overall project is completed, and work is ahead of schedule _ although that could change if the weather were to turn bad. The bowl seating will open for next season, and the coaches' boxes and suite areas won't be done until a year later.

Other noticeable changes to the stadium so far include masonry work beginning on the southwest corner and the continuous addition of structural steel to the northern half of the project, where the outline of three tiers of suites can be seen rising over the concrete bowl area.

Steel beams have also started going up on the south side, and they'll eventually meet with those constructed on the opposite side.

``I look at the progression every day. It's looking good,'' Cowboys linebacker Rodrick Johnson said. ``It's going to be a loud stadium when they get it completed.''

Oklahoma State played last season with the western end of the stadium open, looking out onto a massive ditch that was created to allow for the construction of the underground facilities. The stadium now has a fully functional loading dock, the structures for three new concession stands are in place and concrete decks are being created for concourses and the stadium's kitchen level.

``I remember when they were digging out and it was nothing but dirt back there, so to see it come up like that, it's really cool,'' defensive end Derek Burton said.

Heley said an evening shift has been created for workers to paint the steel surfaces and apply a seven-layer waterproofing system to protect the basement area. In December, Heley hopes to have heating and air conditioning installed for the basement area.

``When I see the pictures and the virtual stuff that they have going on, I'm upset because I want to be in that new locker room,'' said Johnson, a senior who won't get to experience the finished product.

For now, the main difference for spectators and even the team will be the full concrete structure being in place to make wind less of a factor and noise a bigger one.

``I'm sure it will make it a lot louder when it does get bowled in and people get in here and yell,'' offensive tackle Brady Bond said. ``I'll be anxious to hear it.''

After playing their last two games on the road, the Cowboys (4-3, 2-1) begin a three-game homestand on Saturday against Kansas State (4-2, 2-1). It's the first of three straight games against ranked foes. After a bye next week, Oklahoma State hosts No. 19 Texas and then No. 15 Kansas.

``Everybody's glad to be home because obviously we enjoy playing here and there's just generally a normal comfort zone because you're not traveling, not in airplanes, not in hotels,'' head coach Mike Gundy said. ``But when they watch the tape of this team, they won't have any problem looking past this team.''

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