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Building a Foundation

Construction from the ground up is taking place on Globe Life Field

Since breaking ground in September, work was focused on not only excavation, but also moving sewage lines, storm lines and necessary utility work.

"It all starts with these sewer lines, storm lines and utility work. Everything we need to be able to walk in and turn the lights on the first day all has to, for the most part, go in first," Matwick said.

The excavation has been one of the biggest steps to date. An estimated 97,000 truckloads of dirt have hauled over 1.3 million cubic yards of dirt from the site.

"One of the first days we were excavating it seemed like it was four big scoops of dirt filled the back of one truck. Truck drove away, four more scoops, truck drove away. Just watching them come in, and everybody had the route, and just to see it, just to organize that and have all that equipment that is moving around, is a fascinating process," Matwick said.

The first five months were spent excavating and building the retaining walls to keep everything in place, five feet at time, until reaching the service level. The current Globe Life Park sits at 35 feet below street level, a 15-foot difference compared to the new site.

"What you see exposed now, [the] retaining walls, soil, and nails, once we cover it up, you'll never see it again," Matwick said. "You literally build it from the top down, and when you get to the bottom you start over to come back up."

The retention system forms the walls of the entire ballpark site. The walls have to be waterproofed, sealed, and crews are now in the early process of pouring cement for the perimeter walls.

Over 250 piers have been drilled into the ground, providing the ground work for the foundation of the new ballpark. The piers are essentially underground concrete columns, drilled as deep as 60-70 feet below the site. The underground pier work is now completed, which means the site can now start being built back up to street level.

"The ballpark from the beginning of the season through the end won't look the same. And that's because fans will be able to see above the ground," Matwick said.

Looking Ahead:

As the baseball season advances, work at Globe Life Field will progress as well. What fans see at the beginning of the season will be a strong contrast between what is seen this fall.

The first of 700 total concrete columns were poured in early February, with the rest following throughout the season. The columns are integral with the decks, as the columns are put in place, the decks follow shortly behind.

"So we've got this big hole, so you'll start to see, as you go to the very bottom of the hole, the service level, or the event level floor as we call it, you'll start to see concrete columns taking shape and then from there you'll just see it growing every week," Rangers Senior Vice President of Project Development Jack Hill said.

The first elevated structural decks are next on the docket, and structural steel will start to follow behind shortly after more concrete columns have been installed.

"By summer you'll really start building things above ground and everybody is going to be able to see this facility really start to take shape," Manhattan Construction Company Vice President Wesley Weaver said.

In their role as the project's General Contractor, Manhattan and Weaver oversee the entire construction process for both Globe Life Field and the 250 million dollar Texas Live! development. He facilitates all of the staff, as well as making sure everyone has the right resources needed to complete the job, working closely with Rangers representatives Matwick and Hill.

"There has to be so much coordination at the top, between the architect, contractor, Jack and myself, from the owner's side, just to make sure that we're comfortable with what we're doing," Matwick said.

"[The process] is no different than the choreography on the trucks. Every movement has a purpose and it's very strategic and anything they're doing out there is not haphazard, it's been thought through and fortunately in our case by people who have years and years of doing these type projects."

Work will begin moving out of the ground in the early months of the season, with steel work beginning to take shape this summer.

"By the end of the season you'll see quite a bit of the structural steel out of the ground," Weaver said.

The roof construction could begin as early as August. Steel for the roof project was ordered in December, giving the product time to be fabricated, shipped and inspected on site. The roof is one of the most highly anticipated aspects of the new ballpark, providing fans with a comfortable environment, and eliminating the elements of weather.

"The best feature of this new ballpark, the one the fans will enjoy the most is the retractable roof," Hill said.

With a capacity of approximately 40,000 seats, the ballpark will have fewer seats than the current Globe Life Park, but the larger overall footprint will allow not only the seats to be more spacious, but the overall building to feel more open.

"The space on the inside is actually several hundred thousand feet bigger, so what that tells me is you'll have more square feet per person in the park, which will, to the fan, make it feel a little more open and airy," Hill said. "Which is important when you put a roof on a building, you don't want it to feel dungeon-like."

Behind-the-scenes, decisions will continue from a design standpoint. Globe Life Field is a fast track project, which means work continues on the site before all plans are finalized. Those decisions include deciding which stone to outfit the building, flooring for each space, and even which fixtures to put in restrooms.

"You basically have a very basic design, and you actually start construction before you complete the design, so that makes it a little tricky," Hill said.

Later this year, in addition to steel and concrete work, fans will see a building façade, possible brick, glass and stone work, as well as a completed plaza, connecting Texas Live! to the future home of the Rangers.

"By late summer when Texas Live! opens, you'll have a piece that's actually open and operating and that will take on a life of its own," Matwick said. "Actually in its own way this will allow people to get closer to the project and I think it'll definitely give people a feel for the size and the scale of the project."

The hammers will ping and the steel will rustle until the final step of the dance, marking the start of a new home for Texas Rangers baseball.