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Golden Nuggets: Checking in on the Memorial Stadium Upgrades

The latest update from Memorial Stadium.  Notice how many seats have been removed...
The latest update from Memorial Stadium. Notice how many seats have been removed...

The San Francisco Chronicle has an update on the ongoing construction at Memorial Stadium.  It sounds like neither historians nor geologists will be dissatisfied with the careful planning to preserve the historical feel of the stadium while providing substantial and much-needed seismic upgrade.

The flexible retrofit will include the cutting of two sections of the seating bowl (that sit on the fault line) and turning them into free-floating surface-rupture blocks. The "concrete rafts," as [assistant athletic director Bob] Milano calls them for laymen, will move without crumbling even if the earth below shifts up to 6 feet.

The structural engineers, seismologists, geologists and architects needed a complicated plan for a simple task: replacing the concrete structure and rebuilding a historical place from the ground up.

"Collegiate football is very emotional," said Milano, who is in charge of the athletic department's capital planning and management. "The alumni have some great memories at Memorial Stadium, and we have to make sure not to lose the heart and soul of the place."

Thus, the historic facade - and the cracks on some of the walls - will remain, with the new building holding up the facade like a veneer.

On the west side, alumni seats are being installed, as well as a shiny, new press box that will be made of glass and steel - "not a historical look," Milano said. Cable-laced concrete support walls and 16 5-foot-long silicone-filled shock absorbers will be added to make sure the press box doesn't come crashing down in an earthquake.

After the jump Wilner examines whether Pac-10 expansion was a good idea, JO and Ted Miller continue looking back at spring practice, and ESPN releases another way-too-early set of 2012 NCAA tournament brackets.