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Tracks: Tower Terrace Razing puts IMS Construction Project into High Gear

22 December 1998

INDIANAPOLIS - Another chapter in the storied 89-year history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway began today as crews started demolishing the Tower Terrace grandstands at the south end of 2.5-mile oval's main straightaway.

Thirty-six pitside Formula One garages and 12 luxury suites, which can be subdivided into smaller suites for the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400, will replace Tower Terrace. F1 teams will use the garages during the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, which debuts at the Speedway in 2000.

The first portion of Tower Terrace to be demolished includes Sections 1-25, which extend from the south end of the structure almost to the Control Tower. Crews will spend approximately two months demolishing and removing the 4,000 tons of concrete comprising the structure.

"Demolition crews will use track-mounted hydraulic excavators with claw-like devices to tear down the structure," said Kevin Forbes, Indianapolis Motor Speedway director of engineering and construction. "The machines will literally chew the structure apart."

Tower Terrace was completed in 1957 and represented one of the major upgrading projects undertaken by late Speedway President Tony Hulman. Bovis Construction Corporation was retained by the Speedway to work with Forbes to provide construction management for the entire F1 project, which includes completion of the Tower Terrace project and building the infield portion of the 13-turn, 2.55-mile road course.

"(Bovis) has placed this project on the same level of importance as our renovation of the Statue of Liberty," said Ed Woods, Bovis project executive. "Everyone in our local office is a native Hoosier, so it is an undertaking that is very meaningful to us."

Bovis is the U.S. holding company for the London-based Bovis Construction Group. It is one of the world's leading construction companies, with 77 offices in 35 countries handling more than $22 billion in contracts.

The next phase of the project is installing utilities and foundations for the garages and suites. Temporary stands will be installed on top of the foundations for the 1999 Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400.

"The configuration of the seating will be identical to what has been in place up to this point," said Forbes. "Every person with a seat in Tower Terrace will have the same view in 1999 they enjoyed with the permanent grandstands."

Forbes added that earthwork and subgrade preparation for the infield portion of the road course is well underway, and should be completed by February 1999. Some paving may be completed by early April.