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Implosion of Reser Stadium’s west stands set for January 7

Implosion preview1
Chris Lehman
Demolition crews expect the grandstands to collapse backwards into this parking lot.

A demolition team is preparing to implode a portion of Oregon State University’s football stadium next month. Construction workers are stripping down the west grandstands in advance of the Jan. 7th implosion.

The university says bringing down the 1950’s era structure in one fell swoop is faster, safer and more efficient than dismantling the entire thing piece by piece.

"The process would otherwise take quite an extensive amount of time," said OSU spokesperson Steve Clark.

The dynamite will do its job quickly, according to Steve Hatch with Dykon Blasting, the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company that's handling the job.

“It’s not going to be something where you have a continued event over a long period of time," he said. "You’re looking at probably less than five seconds for the explosives to go off and for the structure to hit the ground.”

The implosion is scheduled for around 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 7, and will proceed rain or shine.

"Rain doesn't really matter," said Hatch. "The rain actually helps with the dust mitigation."

Hatch said the only type of weather that would delay the blast would be wind in excess of 50 mph.

Implosion preview2
Chris Lehman
Demolition crews are removing some components of the grandstand prior to the Jan. 7 implosion.

Crews are setting the charges with the goal of having the stands collapse backward into an adjacent parking lot.

OSU says about 60 people from neighboring apartments will need to leave their homes for roughly two hours as a precaution, although the debris isn't expected to directly land on any buildings. The evacuees will be treated to a free breakfast at a nearby hotel.

Several nearby streets will close briefly in advance of the blast, although the majority of the OSU campus will remain open to students, staff and the public. University officials are expecting crowds of people to gather in an attempt to watch the implosion. The event will also be live-streamed on the OSU website, and the school is planning "watch parties" at various locations.

The implosion is part of a $153 million project that will include new seating. It's expected to be ready for the 2023 football season.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018 and became News Director in March, 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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