An inside look at BC Place renovations
Published Wednesday, March 2, 2011 5:53PM PST
More than 450 construction workers from all over the world are pushing hard to make the Sept. 30 deadline to install a new retractable roof over BC Place stadium.
Brian Griffen, director of operations at BC Place, is leading the project. From checking on lights that twinkle on top of the roof to making sure the fabric can stand up to a B.C. winter, Griffen is keeping tabs on the half-billion-dollar renovation.
The last time crowds packed into BC Place was the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Paralympic Games. When the old pillowy rooftop deflated weeks later, construction began on a design to create a state of the art landmark made from the bones of the aging stadium.
Griffen says the new roof would have to be as weather-tight as possible, because Vancouver's unique weather pattern features so much rain. The new roof is designed to hold tonnes of wet heavy snow and crews will no longer be forced to shovel the snow off the fabric like they did with the old dome.
The renovation is the one of the biggest in Canadian history. Along with a new roof and seats, the stadium will be reinforced with thicker support columns and giant shock absorbers called seismic dampers which will be installed beneath the stadium to help it survive a large earthquake.
The construction will be done on a tight budget of both money and time, and Griffen says there is a lot of work to do in the next seven months.
"We're gonna fine-tune this thing as best as we can," he said.
In the middle of construction, with cables strung like spokes on a bicycle wheel tying one side of the bowl to the other and every seat in the building gone, Griffen says he can barely recognize the place he's worked at since 1995.
"It was very difficult at the beginning [because] it was just a big open shell, But now … it's really starting to come together," he said.
With a report from Discovery Channel's Mark Miller