Posted: Tuesday Jul 15, 2014
July 15, 2014
While the news media focuses on the hard work the Steelers endure during their annual summer training camp, the physical preparation for camp is done by the Saint Vincent College Office of Facility Management weeks before the arrival of the players.
A staff of 33 groundskeepers, custodians, HVAC and Access technical specialists, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other tradesmen are assigned detailed lists of tasks that all have to be completed before the players and coaches arrive. “The facility management staff will devote nearly a thousand hours to getting the Saint Vincent campus physically ready for camp,” noted Larry Hendrick, director of facility management. “The plan is developed months in advance and constantly tweaked to accommodate dozens of requests although most of the actual work is done in about two weeks of intensive execution. All of our employees are great and know what they have to do since we have done this so many times before. But new Steelers coaches and staff sometimes mean changes in the routines. Unfortunately, we can’t start preparations earlier because of classes, summer sports camps, student events and special activities that are held on campus during the summer.”
New this year is a picnic area with tables near Chuck Noll Field to provide comfortable hospitality to families whether they bring their own food or purchase it at one of the four concession areas.
“Ninety percent of our work is completed before the coaches arrive,” Hendrick added. “Only about 10% involves support while the team is on campus and tearing everything down and putting things away in late August.”
The work orders include the erection of more than a mile of temporary fencing that designates where fans can watch practice or stand for autographs, more than a dozen tents of varying sizes, 14 Port-A-Johns, dozens of tables, chairs, barricades, refuse containers, dumpsters, barrels and signs. “The electrical and carpentry needs are extensive and challenging in the field setting as well as indoors,” Hendrick noted. “The Steelers request power for trailers, freezers, ice machines, copiers, Steelers Experience, water coolers, projectors, recorders, temporary walls to be put up, special signage and the list goes on.”
“Some of the work is challenging because a large amount of heavy furniture needs to be moved from residence hall rooms and lounges to create special rooms for training, offices and other needs,” Hendrick continued. “Some residence hall rooms are converted to player classrooms with overhead projectors.”
Facility management will also be arranging for the needs of the visiting Buffalo Bills on August 13 and 14 including locker room preparation, training rooms and media support.
Also new to camp this summer is an area on the baseball field dedicated to the NFL’s Play 60 health and fitness campaign to encourage wellness among youth.
“Bees, wasps and gnats are always a problem in an outdoor setting so we check and remove nests from around all of the railings, the seating of the stadium and other places where they may nest,” Hendrick concluded. “We do everything we can to provide good hospitality to the players, coaches and fans.”
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