A large wrecking ball attached to a crane began to swing into the student section of Fouts Field at the University of North Texas, crumbling the concrete and exposing the rebar inside at 1 p.m. Friday.
Demolition on the lower section of the east concourse began earlier this week to make sure the demolition with the wrecking ball would go more smoothly, said Don Lynch, director of system facilities administration.
“It will help the upper parts fall down better,” Lynch said. “It’ll go for several days. ... It will be probably two weeks.”
The first few swings of the wrecking ball echoed around the stadium and left dents in the exterior, which Lynch said is typical of demolition, weakening the structure before it begins to fall.
“The first few swings just tell them how tough this thing is going to be,” he said. “Once you get that weakness in there, it begins to fall apart as you chip away at it.”
This is the largest portion of the construction project to repurpose Fouts Field, which hosted the school’s football program from 1952 to 2010. The partial demolition will leave the structure of the press box side, and will host track and field until a new track facility is built.
So far, the south-side bleachers have been removed, and the historic stone panels that lined the top of the student section were removed successfully, a process that was completed last week.
As the demolition of the large concourse continues, crews will clean as they go by sorting the materials, and recycling the rebar, wiring and anything else salvageable, Lynch said.
“They separate materials — the trash from what can be reused and recycled,” he said. “It will be a few weeks of taking that structure down because they wreck it apart, pull out the materials, then wreck another part. They separate the materials as they go.”
The project remains on schedule for an Aug. 26 completion, though Lynch said some of the final landscaping may not yet be complete.
“It may not look like a finished site because the grass will still be trying to grow and we’ll still be establishing things like that, but it will be virtually done on time,” he said.
Crews are also starting to remove the north-side section of the bleachers. Each section of the bleachers held 5,000 seats to help expand the stadium from 20,000 seats to 30,000, helping the football program transition into the Division I level.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.