Contractors clear away old buildings, start pouring footings for new athletic complex

Site of the future Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex on the lower quadrangle

Contractors clear away old buildings, start pouring footings for new athletic complex

Schoenecker Arena, Coughlan Field House and Foley Theater served St. Thomas for a collective 150 years, and they are gone – every last stone and brick.

Crews from Opus Northwest and its subcontractors on Friday removed the remaining rubble from the site of the new Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex, just seven weeks after the last official function in the buildings – commencement exercises on May 23.

And by the end of this week, crews will pour the first below-grade footings and foundations for the $52 million, 180,000-square-foot complex, which will open in October 2010.

"The demolition and excavation work have been fairly predictable so far," said Beth Duyvejonck, project manager with Opus. "We're on schedule."

Opus estimated before the project began that crews would remove 700 truckloads (12,000 cubic yards) of demolition debris, much of which will be recycled and reused on other construction sites. During the excavation stage, 820 truckloads (13,000 cubic yards) of debris will be removed.

Crews are concentrating on excavating the site and constructing a new utilities tunnel to handle natural gas, electrical and steam service, she said. That job will be completed in early August, and the existing tunnel will be removed.

Concrete pours will begin in the southeast corner of the site, where the aquatic center will be constructed, and move counterclockwise, Duyvejonck said. About 30 workers are on the site, and that number will increase throughout the summer.

In addition to the aquatic center, the complex will include a basketball and volleyball arena, field house with a 200-meter track, fitness center, weight room, offices and classrooms for the Department of Health and Human Performance, and offices for the Department of Athletics.

Foley Theater was the oldest building on the site, opening in 1914 as the Clubhouse along with the adjacent Armory. St. Thomas renovated the second-floor auditorium in 1958 and renamed the building Foley Theater. The Armory was demolished to make way for Schoenecker Arena and Coughlan Field House, which opened in 1981.

The 70-year-old O'Shaughnessy Hall is scheduled to be demolished next year to make room for the new Anderson Student Center, an L-shaped building that will have wings on Summit and Cretin avenues. Preliminary plans call for the student center to open in early 2012.

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