WINNIPEG - A paved east-side concourse, a flurry of construction activity and what resembles a Mechano Set partial grandstand frame are the clearest signs that the new Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium is taking shape at the University of Manitoba.
The nearly $200-million development is on budget and on schedule to see the stadium open for the CFL team for its 2012 season, project manager Mike Clynes said Friday while leading a tour of the massive site for media, public officials and U of M brass.
Though much remains to be done, Clynes explained that the 9,000 tonnes of steel, 28,000 cubic metres of concrete and other materials can and will come together quickly.
“All the bleachers for the seating are fabricated off-site. It comes in on the back of trucks and is dropped right into place. So you’ll see this go up pretty quick,” Clynes, of Stuart Olson Dominion Construction, told the Winnipeg Sun at the site at University Crescent and Chancellor Matheson Road.
When the 33,500-seat facility opens, he added, it will offer “the most fun and enhanced fan experience” that Winnipeg stadium-goers could hope for.
“You’re going to get an over-designed capacity of concessions. You’re going to get 22-inch-wide seats, very wide seats and extra leg room in front of you. You’re going to have a cup-holder in the seat in front of you. You’re going to have two high-definition video boards, one at each end of the field,” Clynes said, adding that the concourses will offer few obstructions to the view.
“You can look right over your shoulder and see the field and see the plays in action, and look at the high-definition video board and see the sweat on the players’ faces. It’s going to be very exciting.”
U of M president David Barnard pointed out that “we don’t know what the weather will be like” to possibly hold up aspects of the project during the fall and winter, though he said his “confidence level is very high.”
Ron Foxcroft, chairman of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats — who were in Winnipeg to take on the Bombers at Canad Inns Stadium — joined the tour of the campus facility, which will also become home to the U of M Bisons football team.
“It’s amazing,” Foxcroft said. “On time, on budget and ready for football. There’s nothing like CFL football.”