Bryant-Denny Stadium Construction: The Good, Bad and Ugly
Alabama Athletic Director, Greg Byrne shared photos on Twitter today of the progress being made on the Bryant-Denny Stadium renovation project. The project, which has been underway since the conclusion of the 2019 season, has a reported budget of $92.5 million and includes larger concourses, four upgraded video boards, new elevators for easier accessibility of the upper-deck, upgraded locker rooms and recruiting rooms and more.
The project is planned to be completed by September 12, in time for Alabama's first home game against Georgia State. With 72 days left until the first game and the deadline to complete the first stage of Byrne's Crimson Standard project looming, there are questions if it will be completed on time.
AL.com's Joseph Goodman reports the construction site has been hit with its second wave of positive COVID-19 tests. Goodman reports that according to workers on site there have been 35 additional positive coronavirus cases on the job site.
This is in addition to the first wave of positive tests reported in May that was speculated anywhere between eight and 20 positive cases.
Caddell Construction Company, the general contractor in charge, has reportedly utilized temperature checks, hand washing stations and encouraged its employees to maintain social distancing and the use of masks while on the construction site.
However two anonymous employees told Goodman of AL.com that these guidelines have not been enforced. The employees allege no soap at the hand washing stations, incompetent temperature takers and impossible circumstances for social distancing on the site.
Workers estimate 30 percent of the employees wear masks on the premise, citing fogging glasses and difficulty communicating as the reason why masks are forgone while working.
Workers share tools and tight quarters without taking the proper precautions like washing the tools or wearing protective gear, increasing the employees risk to spreading coronavirus.
Caddell Construction is now scheduling crews to work seven days a week and 12-13 hour days on site are common. Construction crews typically work 40 hours per week but are being pushed to work over 70 hours per week to meet the deadline.
Due to the economic downturn, most employees are asked to choose between supporting themselves and families and their immediate health.
The Tuscaloosa City Council recently passed a city-wide mask ordinance, requiring citizens to wear a mask while in public in order to mitigate and slow down the spread of coronavirus. Will Caddell Construction enforce the city ordinance at its construction site or will they instead foot the $25 fine for each employee not in compliance?
The site has only experienced two hiatuses during the project, once when a steel beam fell, injuring two workers, and again in May when the initial round of positive COVID-19 cases were discovered.
While the Crimson Standard is an important project to the Alabama Athletic department, is it worth driving the project at a speed that possibly endangers the construction crew's health?