Change in the air

The Pensacola Street realignment project is taking shape. The demolition of the Moore Athletic Center is scheduled to begin Wednesday. Construction at Dick Howser Stadium is scheduled for next month. "A lot of stuff is all of a sudden coming together and happening," said Bernie Waxman, Florida State's director of facilities and operations.

Florida State athletic employees have been moved into makeshift offices within the University Center. The Seminoles' weight room and training room are positioned at old Florida High. The Moore Athletic Center has been stripped inside and fenced off outside. The Pensacola Street realignment project is moving forward.

Changes have been felt at FSU. They will soon be seen, too.

"A lot of stuff is all of a sudden coming together and happening," Bernie Waxman said Sunday night as he watched the Seminoles pound the Duke Blue Devils 18-4 at Dick Howser Stadium. As director of facilities and operations at FSU, Waxman knows firsthand about Seminole facelifts.

Well, this is facelift is from ear-to-ear, chin to forehead.

Starting today (Monday), the Pensacola Street overpass will be removed between Stadium Drive and Chieftan/Champions Way, rerouting traffic around the south side of the stadium complex. The realignment project is being constructed in three phases and is expected to be completed by September 2002.

This Wednesday, demolition of the Moore Athletic Center will begin on the south side (basketball practice floor). And, once the baseball season has concluded, construction on the grandstand section along the first-base line will begin. This area will also include the Seminoles' new locker room and batting cages.

While Waxman's days are filled with updates and meetings, he says the process has gone fine under the circumstances. "There have been some minor glitches but, by and large, it has been incredibly smooth," Waxman said. "Everybody was prepared and that's what made it happen. But, as I said, there are some major changes in store."

Waxman said construction crews will actually demolish the athletic center at night so not to inconvenience staff working in the University Center. Additionally, safety is a main concern when it comes to pedestrian traffic.

"From previous discussions, they (crews) will start on the gym side, as far away from football locker room as they can and then move towards it," Waxman said. "I don't think it's going to a huge ball that's gonna knock the whole thing done. I think it's going to be more like Pac Man -- they are going to have these little tractors that are going to eat away little pieces at a time, load it up and haul it out."

At the moment, FSU's future remains on blueprints. But not for long.

"By next weekend, you should see some damage done to the building," Waxman said of the athletic center. "If you walk inside right now, you would see a lot of stuff down. Most of the lights are out. They had to tie off all the air conditioning to maintain the air conditioning in the areas where people are still working but not have any surprises when they start ripping stuff out. They had to do the same thing with electricity and plumbing. There are pipes everywhere."

As the Seminoles pounded the Blue Devils, dropping 19 hits just about everywhere on the field, fans will soon see changes at Dick Howser Stadium, too.

"Baseball is coming together really well -- it has been all over the universe but the last month or so it has been focused," Waxman said. "We are anticipating beginning in June, right after we hope to host a regional and a super regional. We also want to make it a smooth transition for the team."

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