Stadium taking shape one day at a time


CHARLOTTE – When I interviewed for a position with the Carolina Panthers four years ago, one of the first things that struck me was the location of my potential new office.

Talk about a room with a view.

With the Bank of America Stadium press box sharing a wall with my office, I get a glimpse of the glistening green gridiron virtually every day and usually several times a day. And even when I head home before dark, I still see stars - in the form of Panthers players.

This offseason, life around the stadium has taken another twist, with a lot more helmet-clad men running around than usual.

No, NFL rosters haven't expanded. But the stadium itself is undergoing an expansion of sorts, with a large group of dedicated and talented workers adding exciting new elements.

Come game day, I look forward to seeing the smiling faces of fans as they zip up to the 300 or 500 level on one of the stadium's four new escalators for the first time. And once fans make it to their seats, their senses will be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the new video boards that tower above each end zone.

Once they stop scoreboard watching, the two ribbon boards that encircle the bowl will catch their eye. In addition, a vastly improved sound system will complete the dramatic audiovisual experience.

I've had a front-row seat for renovations, now more than four months in and just a month from the July 1 deadline. The project is in the fourth quarter in football terms, and it's reached this point with the kind of clockwork precision that NFL teams target.

When I think about construction, words like "inconvenience" at the least and "chaos" at the worst come to mind. But watching these renovations round into form, day by day, has been an impressive sight to behold.

Sure, there have been some bumps along the way, and the project hasn't yet reached the final whistle. But in a time span roughly the equivalent of an NFL offseason, the team is building something special.

Most fans will never see the construction crews in action, but they will enjoy the finished product.

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