Lambeau Field: Green and growing

With the north end zone completely enclosed and new scoreboards rising high into the spring sky, the Lambeau Field renovation project is rolling along ahead of schedule. That should allow workers plenty of time to spit-shine the revamped $295 million stadium prior to the team's preseason home opener in August.<p>

"We're doing very well with the schedule," said Hammes Company project director Stu Zadra. "The productivity of the workforce has been excellent. We've actually completed some areas five months ahead of schedule. Turner (Construction) has managed the group very well, and we've had very good success in coordinating the (trade workers). We'll be in great shape come this football season for having the building complete and ready to play."

The most noticeable progress within the stadium includes the enclosed indoor club seating that will enclose the north end zone. Work began late last fall on the area that will seat about 3,000. When all is said and done, there will be more than 6,200 club seats, 166 luxury boxes, and a total capacity of about 71,000.

The north end zone scoreboard will sit atop the the roof of the indoor club seats and feature a 48-foot wide screen, double the size of the previous scoreboards. Zadra says the scoreboards, produced by Daktronics of South Dakota, will be much brighter with higher resolution and better contrast, similar to the scoreboard of Milwaukee's Miller Park.

"It will be just as good if not better than that, and much brighter, too," Zadra said.

The south side of the stadium has been left open above the lower bowl for future expansion of club seating or luxury boxes. Thus, the scoreboard will be much lower in elevation than compared to the north end zone. Steel to support the south end zone scoreboard has recently been erected behind the bowl.

The majority of work on the south side of the stadium, including the upper concourse, visitors locker room and many of the concession areas has been completed. Zadra said that area could be completely finished by June.

The Packer Hall of Fame is expected to open by mid-July. The 25,000 square foot Hall of Fame, more than 8,000 square feet more than the former Hall of Fame across from Lambeau Field, will include three mini theaters and exhibits that celebrate the stadium, fans, community, former players and special contributors. The new Hall of Fame also will include an interactive area, trivia challenge and educational wing.

"We've been able to place a lot more exhibits within 25,000 square feet, probably more than double the exhibits and memorabilia that people have an opportunity to see," Zadra said.

Zadra said that the project will not only be on time but within the $295 million budget. Brown County taxpayers approved a half-cent sales tax in 2000 to support $160 million in bonding for the project. The Packers, the city of Green Bay and NFL have combined to contribute $125.9 million and the state of Wisconsin has chipped in $9.1 million.

"There are bits and pieces that might finish the later part of June or earlier parts of July," Zadra said. "But that will give us a lot more time to get the building cleaned up, finish punch lists with the contractors, do the work that they need to do, close out the contract and move on."

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