By Dennis J. Freeman
INGLEWOOD — The Los Angeles Stadium & Entertainment District Stadium at Hollywood Park is going to be a sight to behold. By the time 2020 rolls around, the year that both the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams will make Inglewood their official home, the state-of-the-art facility will no doubt be a wonder to see.
For members of the media who have been fortunate enough to get an up-close view of the mammoth structure through several tours, most recently on Sept. 18, the perfect verbiage to be used would be jaw-dropping.
Representatives from the Rams (Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff) and Chargers (President of Business Operations A.G. Spanos; President of Football Operations John Spanos) came along for this week’s tour as well.
The monstrosity of the future home of Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the 2023 College National Championship and the 2028 Summer Olympics, cannot be understated. It’s huge, a behemoth of a structure that will house world-class sports and entertainment for generations to come. The specs alone tell the story.
By the time the construction wraps up, the stadium will measure more than three million square feet. Support for the stadium’s roof canopy will require erected columns filled with 15,000 tons of reinforcement steel. The stadium’s structural retaining wall has 1,108 miles of steel straps. And instead of being built on the ground, the stadium’s playing field is actually 100 feet below the surface.
“I was here knocking down Hollywood Park race track five years ago and now I’m back,” said site foreman Keith Booker.
How big is the project? Well, the undertaking of the stadium has required the use of the Mammoet Demag CC 12600 crane, one of only three in the world, according to Booker. It took 238 trucks just to transport pieces of the crane to the construction site. It then took two other cranes to help in assembling the Mammoet Demag CC 12600 crane.
The use of the Mammoet Demag CC 12600 crane is significant because in order for the first canopy steel to be lifted in place back in August, it took the use of this crane to raise up the 2.4 million-pound entity. Although there are 12 cranes at the construction site, the Mammoet Demag CC 12600 crane, which can lift up to as much as 5,000 tons, is the largest of the bunch.
“The roof structure is really unique because it’s one of its kind,” Booker said. “The roof is put on in sections and we have one of the biggest cranes in the world here. It comes from the Netherlands. It’s unique. It’s humongous. That crane came here about four months ago. … It’s called the Mammoet crane. It’s massive. It has to pick up a lot of weight. The roof structure is very heavy and it comes in pieces. We pick up pieces every two weeks, so it’s a challenge.”
Another challenge to such a large project facing crew members is the parameters of safety, which Booker talked about at length.
To get all this machinery and equipment going around the clock requires a lot of manpower. As many as 3,000 people work on the project daily. Of that number, Booker said roughly 25 to 30 percent are local hires. Preaching safety is always at the top of the priority list.
“The safety factor … four million-man hours already, we have no casualties at all,” Booker said. “We have some nicks and bruises that go on, but for the most part this is the safest job you’re ever going to find when you have a job of four and five billion dollars in magnitude and guys going home every day is what it’s all about. It’s a very safe job and very strenuous. It’s the safety team that makes sure everyone stays in line.”
When the project is finally completed in less than two years, it will be a 298-acre sports and entertainment marvel. The stadium will have a capacity of 70,240 people, which could be expanded to 100,000 for large events. That includes 260 luxury suites and 13,000 premium seats.
And that’s not including a performance venue that will seat 6,000 people and will be situated next to the stadium.