Construction teams rally, reach new heights with deadline effort

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The wind wasn't strong enough to provide relief in the basket that dangled about 60 feet off the ground. But it was strong enough to shake the compartment in which the two men were working.

They swayed, er, stayed with it.

Steve Christy of "the booming metropolis of Goshen," as he called it, is a superintendent - foreman, if you like - on one of the most visible Whaley Construction projects in Troy. Christy, 44, is working on Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium, which will be in the national spotlight Thursday night when Troy plays Missouri on ESPN2.

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"The window department, we're getting ready for that game," Christy said. "This close to the game, everything's a priority. But this has got to be done."

Christy and co-workers Jose Manuel Ramirez and Eduardo Marquez alternated jobs in the scaffolding. Christy's primary task on Thursday was to install an antenna to the press box that will capture video from a hand-held camera during ESPN's broadcast. Ramirez and Marquez were cleaning the exterior sky box windows on the sixth floor of the press box.

It is a small, cut crucial part of the work that swirls around the huge building. While they work toward Thursday's home opener, most workers are finishing the academics, strength and conditioning and sports medicine areas on the first three floors.

"I used to work at Troy State," Christy said. "I know they need this building. Doc Anderson is finally getting the adequate facilities he's needed. He's going to have the south end of the second floor. Doc's been very deserving of that for a long time."

Christy didn't say it, but the teamwork that will be on display for years to come in the stadium is also the result of teamwork during the construction of the project.

"James Register is the superintendent over this entire project,"&uot; Christy said.

"Whaley is the general contractor. We're here to ensure the subcontractors are meeting the specifications of the owner and the architects. It's got to be done right. Just because it looks done on the fifth floor doesn't mean somebody didn't cut something or somewhere they shouldn't have on the fourth. It's our job to make sure everybody does the job right."

And that takes teamwork and communication - two requirements for any Troy University athletics team.

"We have excellent subs (subcontractors)," Christy said. "We have been together a long time. We try to work closely with the university. They're holding functions in this building every day. We try to stay out of the way. We just finished renovations of Smith Hall and Clements Hall. Our subs know what we want and expect and we know what they can do. It just works hand-in-hand."

Dangling from a scaffold isn't an everyday part of his job, but Christy said that's part of the fun of it.

"That's all in a day's work," Christy said.

"Every day is different. Yes, it's all construction. But it ain't monotonous. Sometimes I'm at Troy. I've worked out at the new Rec Center at the Sportsplex. I've worked here for 10 years and Mr. Whaley's a dang good man to work for. I've never been without a 40-hour work week unless I asked for less. Not a lot of people can say that. But he knows that if he needs me in Monroeville, I only ask what time he needs me there."

He admits the satisfaction of driving past a finished project is satisfying. Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium will not be an exception.

"Twenty, 30 years down the road I can go by here and say I helped build that," he said. "That's a pretty good feeling."