Campus Construction Update, Sept. 20, 2010: Garcelon Field

A worker wrangles a steel component for the Garcelon Field grandstand as it's unloaded on Sept. 15, 2010.

“That’s going to be a fun thing to watch to go together,” Garcelon Field project manager Mike Gustin said as the first components of the new Garcelon Field grandstand showed up on Sept. 15.

A pair of long flatbed tractor-trailers that took up a good stretch of Central Avenue brought the first pieces of the stands. They arrived as workers for R.A.D. Sports, general contractor for the renovation, put the final touches on the foundation footers — concrete cylinders — that were poured during the last couple of weeks.

Garcelon Field grandstand

Manufactured by Dant Clayton, grandstand specialists in Louisville, Ky., enough of the black steel skeleton was assembled by Sept. 17 to create a grandstandy impression. Coming next is the aluminum planking, as well as the seats for the center section of the bleachers.

The last major part, expected to show up Sept. 22, is the press box. Subcontracted by Dant Clayton to Mobile Facility Engineering of Cassopolis, Mich., this 10-by-48-foot box will arrive ready to be hoisted into place, said Gustin.

The whole grandstand is factory-painted. “It will be primarily black” and natural aluminum, with a garnet border around the top, “Bates” on the front (in a typeface created by Bates designers), and “Bates” and “Garcelon Field,” in the college’s customary Sabon typeface, facing Central Avenue.

Gustin notes that the structure will continue to serve a function critical to the functioning of a college campus: serving as a lovers’ hideaway that’s still within earshot of the game. There will be storage areas under the bleachers for athletic gear, but space will remain to accommodate that time-honored romantic imperative.

Garcelon Field grandstand footers

Away from the stands, and with the field dedication and first home game, coming up on Oct. 9 vs. Williams, progress on the football field’s renovation is in the final stages. Gustin expected T.W. Paving of Mechanic Falls to start pouring the walkway encircling the field any day now — noting that the company has a concurrent nighttime gig paving the Maine Turnpike.

“Bill Bergevin did a nice landscaping job over underneath the new flagpoles,” Gustin added. “The old Garcelon Field stone that was under the old scoreboard has been reset in front of the center flag pole,” referring to the marker commemorating Bates’ first football game — which actually took place at the field next to Rand Hall in 1875, against Tufts, and whose outcome we needn’t discuss here.

With the end of the project in sight (and one more Campus Construction Update for the renovation in the cards), Gustin said that this project has “been a fun one to work on, because it’s athletics and it’s so visible.”

And it also brings him full circle. “About 26 years ago, I worked for the construction company that did the last renovation of the field,” Gustin said. That was H.E. Sargent Inc. of Stillwater, now known as Sargent Corp. And this week, “I just had my 25th anniversary at Bates.”

Read about the renovation of Hedge and Roger Williams halls.

See images of the reinstallation of the eagle weathervane at 10 Frye St.

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