September 18, 2012
When I visited Lambeau Field, home of storied NFL franchise Green Bay Packers last month to check out the on-going structural renovations that have been taking place over the last several months, I was asked repeatedly versions of the same question: “Is it weird to be here as a Bears fan?”
It wasn’t weird. On the contrary, it made me better understand why Packer fans are the way they are—fanatical and loyal. Admitting this appreciation is difficult to do as a Bears fan, especially given the recent throttling by said Packers in Week 2.
Miron Construction Co. Inc. of Neenah, Wis., has been handling all of the structural work in and around the stadium, constructing scoreboard supports at both end zones for enormous new scoreboards (see Figure 1); extending the north end zone to include a standing-room only party deck; constructing a new elevator shaft; reinforcing existing steel structures (see Figure 2), and adding 6,700 new seats in the south end zone (see Figure 3).
The tour itself was interesting, as was listening to Pete Klosterman, vice president of field services at Miron detail each step of the process and the challenges, including an extremely tight timeline, that needed to be addressed. It was also interesting to listen to ironworkers Jake and Pete Wirkuty talk about how FCAW made their jobs become a lot more efficient.
But the best thing for me was watching as other magazine editors and die-hard Packer fans reduced to wide-eyed giddy kids as we walked through the tunnel and onto the perimeter surrounding the playing surface. And I have to admit, the sight of such a beautiful and notorious sports landmark on what was a perfect August afternoon made me a little weak in the knees too.
Packer fan or not, you have to admire the reverence that Lambeau Field holds in the hearts of those loyal to the green and gold. And on some level you have to envy the ironworkers who have been given the task of improving the Lambeau Field experience for future generations of Packer Fans.
Except in the winter. They don’t call it the Frozen Tundra for nothing.