Butch Dill/Associated Press
The offseason renovations to Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium have resulted in a second wave of workers contracting COVID-19.
Joseph Goodman of AL.com reports at least 35 crew members have tested positive. A previous undisclosed number of cases caused work to halt on the stadium in mid-May, per Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News.
The renovation to add luxury suites among other upgrades comes with a price tag of $107 million, but the delays this offseason due to the pandemic have left the contractor, Caddell Construction Company, with a tight deadline to finish, per Goodman.
Construction is supposed to be completed in mid-August with Alabama scheduled to play its first home game on September 12.
AL.com reports in order to meet the deadline, full crews have been working seven days a week, sometimes up to 70 hours, with social distancing “all but impossible” due to the remaining projects.
“On a remodel, you can’t stand 6 feet away no matter what you do,” one construction worker told Goodman. “Everyone is touching the same things all over the job site. Everyone is hand-in-hand even if they don’t know it.”
The site was previously shut down a total of 2.5 days after workers first began testing positive in May and again later for an OSHA investigation after a steel beam fell and injured two workers.
“The University requires proven compliance with CDC and OSHA guidelines before a contractor can even bid on a project,” Alabama said in a statement to AL.com. “Specific to COVID-19, the University has led numerous campus-wide safety briefings, and has provided resources and materials, including enhanced cleaning, thermometers, sanitation stations, face masks, and specific instructional safety signage. Most construction personnel work outside, which also enhances safety.”
In response to questions submitted to Caddell Construction Company by AL.com, the contractors said they are “committed to the health and safety of its workforce”, adding they have met or exceeded OSHA and CDC standards.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult challenge added to a complex project,” the company responded. “We are proud of our team and their dedication to caring for our workforce at Bryant-Denny. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have tested positive and with everyone who is working hard on the project every day.”