By Alabama Newscenter Staff
A topping out marks the ceremonial placement of the last steel beam in a construction project. Due to COVID-19, officials signed the beam over three days at the construction site. Once signed, the beam was lifted by crane and fastened to the support structure for Protective Stadium’s score board.
“It was important for us to mark this construction milestone, albeit a little differently than we would have,” said Tad Snider, executive director and CEO, BJCC Authority. “Protective Stadium is a public-private partnership, with many entities working together to produce a worldclass facility for Birmingham. The topping out honors those partnerships while demonstrating the project’s significant progress.”
Construction on the 45,000-capacity stadium began in late 2019 and is scheduled to conclude in fall 2021 for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) football season. Protective Stadium will be the home of UAB Blazers football.
“We are incredibly excited to make Protective Stadium our new home and are appreciative of the partnerships that have helped bring this project to fruition,” said Mark Ingram, UAB director of athletics.
“Protective Stadium’s construction has moved forward smoothly and on schedule,” said Dennis Lathem, chairman, BJCC Board of Directors. “This year and this project have reinforced how important it is to keep the long view in focus. The stadium’s construction, as well as the comprehensive renovation of Legacy Arena, will yield long-term benefits, strengthening Birmingham as a destination for large-scale sporting events.”
Protective Stadium will be a catalyst for the Magic City, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said.
“When I look at the progress that has been made on the stadium, I don’t just see a place where our community can come together for football, concerts and other events,” Woodfin said. “I see a springboard for economic development, I see new opportunities for small businesses, and I see revenue that will go toward revitalizing each of our city’s 99 neighborhoods. I’m proud to see this great new venue taking shape, but I’m most excited about the groundwork that is being laid to uplift all our communities.”
The stadium’s economic impact will go beyond the city.
“I’m excited to reach this milestone on a project that will bring such benefit to our county,” said Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens. “I look at this stadium as a monument to what happens when we have good leadership across the board – from the city, the county, the state, the BJCC, UAB and the business community – and when we all work together to accomplish something good for our community.”
Protective Stadium will add to the city’s sports infrastructure offerings.
“This is a milestone moment for Protective Stadium and for Birmingham,” said Birmingham City Council President William Parker. “The new stadium will soon join Legion Field, Birmingham Crossplex and the city’s other venues to make Birmingham even more competitive in attracting sporting events that will boost tourism and support our local economy.”
The stadium is named for sponsor Protective Life.
“Protective is excited to celebrate another milestone in the construction progress made at Protective Stadium,” said Rich Bielen, president and CEO of Protective Life. “Upon completion, the events hosted at Protective Stadium will unite the city of Birmingham and we are thrilled to play an important role in bringing this venue to life.”
Protective Stadium will also serve as the host venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Games 2022, coming to Birmingham July 7-17, 2022.
“The progress on Protective Stadium is incredible, and we are excited that it will serve as a cornerstone of the World Games 2022,” said Nick Sellers, CEO of the World Games Birmingham. “In less than 600 days, we will welcome the world to Birmingham, and we can’t wait to show off this beautiful new stadium to fans and athletes from across the globe.”
Protective Stadium is a massive construction project that includes:
- 3,700,000 pounds of rebar tied, roughly the weight of 11,385 sumo wrestlers;
- 26,000 cubic yards of concrete placed, enough to fill nearly eight Olympic size swimming pools;
- 150,000 square feet of elevated concrete, enough to cover more than 17 korfball courts;
- 160,000 feet of conduit hung, or the length of nearly 1,455 tug of war ropes;
- 14,600 feet of pipe, the length of nearly 297 boules sports courts;
- 31,000 linear feet of concrete seating, or taller than 620 sports climbing walls.