New Red Sox stadium in the ballpark of completion by project deadline

"Fenway South,'' surrounded by parking and practice fields, will even have a Green Monster wall in left field, with seats on top of it. Boston Red Sox

"Fenway South,'' surrounded by parking and practice fields, will even have a Green Monster wall in left field, with seats on top of it. Boston Red Sox

Materials used for JetBlue Park

■ 3.3 miles of underground storm drainage pipe

■ 385,000 cubic yards of fill

■ 27,000 tons of top soil for seven baseball fields

■ 16,000 tons of gravel

■ 54,000 linear feet of drainage pipe

■ 8,000 cubic yards of poured concrete

■ 125,000 tons of concrete block

■ 550 tons of reinforcing steel

■ 893 tons of structural steel

Source: Manhattan Kraft Construction Inc.

— Driving east on Daniels Parkway, it’s hard to miss the newest addition to the Grapefruit League. Three cranes tower behind a line of trees and soon enough, after following a curve in the road, there it is — the early contours of what will be the new spring home of the Boston Red Sox.

Standing near the front, you can begin to make JetBlue Park out. The clubhouse and suite area is coming together, as is the left field and upper deck seating. And near center field, standing tall, are the steel beams that will become the recognizable replica of the “Green Monster.”

“It’s moving ahead nicely,” said Bob Taylor, capital project construction manager for Lee County government. “We have people working six days a week on it.”

With an average of 145 to 179 people working at the 126-acre site, the progress made since ground breaking in August 2010 shows.

Crews have installed 3.3 miles of underground storm drainage and are working with 893 tons of structural steel and 550 tons of reinforcing steel to build the Fenway Park replica.

Behind the main stadium will be five practice fields for the Red Sox organization; two Major League fields to the northeast of the park and four minor league fields in a cloverleaf formation to the northwest. Crews are working on the drainage system and will pour 16,000 tons of locally manufactured gravel under the system before installing grass in June.

JetBlue Airlines acquired the naming rights to the park at 11581 Daniels Parkway in March after the Red Sox played their final game at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers. Estimated to seat around 11,000 people, JetBlue Park will allow for about 3,000 more fans to attend spring training games verses City of Palms Park in Fort Myers.

Barring any major weather developments, builder Manhattan Kraft estimates the stadium’s completion by Jan. 12, 2012, and that it will be ready for the Red Sox to return for spring training in February 2012.

“The primary thing we can’t control is the weather,” Taylor said. “If we have a smooth summer, we’ll be fine. It would have to be something major to throw us off.”

The $77.9 million project, which includes $20 million for the land and $7.2 million for design and permits, has 60 different subcontractors working on the park. Currently irrigation, plumbing, electrical, structural, steel, concrete and masonry crews are out on the site throughout any given day to complete the stadium, Taylor said.

“Pretty much any exterior trade you can think of is here,” he said. “Except drywall, of course.”

According to Lee County’s public works website, the JetBlue Park and Player Development Complex is paid for with federally subsidized bonds that will be repaid through a bed tax charged to short-term rentals and hotel stays.

The construction of the stadium foundation was projected to be completed by the end of April, according to the construction milestone schedule on the Lee County government website.

Although it hasn’t been finished, Taylor noted the schedule is fluid and allows Manhattan Kraft Construction, the local construction management company, to focus on other areas of the stadium.

“By focusing on other areas, it will allow them to get things done sooner,” Taylor said. “They’re not behind, but have just changed focus.”

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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