Last of old stadium knocked down

Demolition and site clearance of the east side of Amon G. Carter Stadium will be complete by mid-January.

Last of old stadium knocked down

A section of the east side of Amon G. Carter Stadium comes crashing down after a wrecking ball dislodged large chunks of its pillars. (Photography by Gregg Ellman and Keith Robinson '82)

Last of old stadium knocked down

Demolition and site clearance of the east side of Amon G. Carter Stadium will be complete by mid-January.

Not all demolitions are created equal. In December, just more than a year after the west side of Amon G. Carter Stadium was imploded in a spectacular display of explosives and logistics, the east side of the 81-year-old venue came crashing down in relatively less dramatic fashion. That is if there’s anything subtle about a two-ton wrecking ball and a trio of reach-high excavators smashing and crunching through tons of concrete, brick and rebar.

Demolition crews began last week at the northeast corner of the stadium’s campus-facing side and clawed everything but the bottom 20 rows of the lower bowl.

In early December came the wrecking ball, smashing pillars until they looked like huge rocks stacked on each other. The top facade showed cracks, lengthening with each whack. Another one brought the first section of about 30 feet crashing down.

Crews ran into trouble after the second section came down as it came down on top of the wrecking ball. The entire job took five days.

PhotoBy mid-January, it will all be level with the concourse and the majority of the debris hauled off, recycled and ready to be put back into the structure’s eastern stands.

The $164 million renovation work on the north end and west side continued through the fall 2011 season, pausing only for six home games that were played amid an active construction zone. The day before game days, Austin Construction cleaned up the site and blocked off stadium areas unsafe for fans, including the west side’s new upper deck.

The project remains on schedule, says Jeff Horn, senior superintendent for Austin. Plans call for the new east side to feature a double deck similar to what has been created in the north end zone. The height of the upper deck will be level with the speakers that used to sit midway up the light poles of the old east side.

The entire project, with an anticipated capacity of about 45,000, is scheduled to be completed by late summer, well before the Horned Frogs host Grambling State on Sept. 8, 2012. Plans allow for additional expansion, up to 50,000, if needed.

“One of the things we were mindful of was wanting to come out with something that is truly unique and special in college football,” TCU Athletics Director Chris Del Conte said. “I think when our new stadium opens in time for us to join the Big 12 Conference, we’ll have a venue that everyone associated with TCU will enjoy and be proud of. It will be first-class in every respect, but equally important, it will honor the glorious past of our program.”

The project is fully funded. Six individual donors pledged $15 million each in a seven-month span in 2010 to begin the project. In total, 95 people donated to the effort.
Related stories:
Implosion brings down stadium’s west side
Installation of stone plaques blends old, new at stadium
TCU buries time capsule in stadium’s west side

More photos:
Gallery of demolition images


First section of east side crumbles

Second section of east side crumbles

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