UNDER CONSTRUCTION Counting down to '92 season, ballpark is 32 percent complete


On Opening Day 1992, a little more than 14 months from now, the Baltimore Orioles expect to open their new ballpark in Camden Yards. This is the first in an occasional series of updates on construction of the new ballpark. The articles will appear through completion of the stadium.

With each day, the Camden Yards ballpark is looking more like a . . . well, a ballpark.

Construction is 32 percent completed. Barring unexpected delays, the Baltimore Orioles will move in, as scheduled, for the 1992 baseball season.

Among projects under way now, two are highly visible. Cranes have begun moving into place concrete "risers" that will hold the ballpark's roughly 47,000 seats. Also, concrete sections are being installed that will form 26 arches ringing the ballpark.

In both cases, the concrete chunks are huge. Many of the arch pieces are 20 feet by 11 feet. The largest, 33 feet by 11 feet, weighs 15 tons. If they were larger, they'd be too large to haul to the job site. "They wouldn't fit under bridges," said Tom Rogers, a senior project administrator for Barton Malow Co., and deputy project director of the ballpark project.

About three of the arches are completed, and 417 of 4,800 seating risers are in place, Rogers said.

Among projects scheduled to begin this month on the $105.4 million, publicly funded project: Weather permitting, masons will lay the first of 556,990 bricks that will adorn the ballpark and carry its traditional design. The bricks are produced especially for the ballpark by Victor Cushwa & Sons of Williamsport and will match the bricks in the neighboring 1,016-foot-long B&O; warehouse.

Excavation of the playing field -- which will be about 13 feet below street level -- is scheduled to begin in two weeks. That project should be completed by Aug. 1, Rogers said.

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