|Daytona Rising. What is rising, except ticket prices to pay for it? It's a new facade job|
The $400 million Daytona Rising project has a timeline that suggests marathon, but the primary contractor is in an all-out sprint to complete a section of the grandstands before Speedweeks 2015.
A growing work force at Daytona International Speedway is putting the finishing touches on the western-most area of the new grandstands near Turn 1, an area that could hold up to 40,000 race fans for events in January and February.
On Wednesday, 1,002 workers – the highest head count since the project started 16 months ago – were at the Speedway.
The gigantic construction project – which is scheduled to be completed for Speedweeks 2016 – is cited in ManpowerGroup's Employment Outlook Survey as a primary reason the Deltona metropolitan statistical area (Daytona Beach is included in this area) ranks third nationwide for growth in 2015.
Not only do the grandstand seats need to be installed, but the concourse areas and fan amenities behind those seats need to be 100 percent operational for the 53rd Rolex 24 At Daytona sports-car race, scheduled for Jan. 24-25.
The stock-car portion of Speedweeks is scheduled to get underway Feb. 14 with The Sprint Unlimited and wrap up on Feb. 22 with the 57th running of the Daytona 500.
"It's intense right now in terms of getting that area ready," DIS President Joie Chitwood III said. "Construction workers are moving at full speed … to ensure that all the amenities within the facility are ready for the 2015 racing season."
For events in 2014, the term "race-ready" meant securing construction areas and posting temporary signs so fans could make their way to the grandstands.
Now, "race-ready" means having the western sections of the almost mile-long steel structure finished and equipped to receive and service tens of thousands of spectators.
The list of fan amenities includes new restrooms, concessions, gift shops, escalators, elevators and bars.
According to Daytona Rising project director Len Moser, the bulk of the construction workers currently swarming the complex are making the necessary installations to the west area before Barton Malow can hand over the keys to the Speedway's staff.
"This is push time, and the race is on," Moser said.
Moser said since Daytona Rising broke ground on July 8, 2013, more than 1.2 million man hours have been logged at the construction site.
He added crews have installed 1.2 million pounds of aluminum for new seating.
In addition, subcontractors have completed 10 new restrooms and eight concession stands, hung 287 framed doors and 500,000 square feet of drywall, plus put up 474 signs and 450 light fixtures.
"We have a punch list," Moser said. "We have things knocked off the list and things being added, such as quality-control inspections. It's a daily process."
"We are trying to wrap it up, fully on that west side, so the Speedway can send its people in there to prepare for the racing events," he added. "They'll have vendors showing up in early January, beginning their setup for the races." Daytona Beach News Journal