Leadoff: Progress made on Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof, GM says


Good morning. This is LEADOFF, today’s early look inside Atlanta sports. 

There’s a bit of progress to report on the roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium: It was opened with the push of a button for the first time recently, according to the stadium’s general manager. 

“We just did our first operational move, open and close, two weeks ago, automated,” Scott Jenkins, the stadium’s general manager, said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s still slow because we’re still in the training-wheel phase, but that’s progress because before that it was all manual construction moves.”

For this test move, he said, “the system ran the operation.”

By one estimate, the roof took about 90 minutes to open, still much too slow for routine game-day use and far short of the 12-minute target, but the progress from a manual to automated process encouraged stadium officials. 

With a slight lull in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium events schedule, work on the roof has accelerated. 

“They’re still working on it every day, every night,” Jenkins said. “And it’s looking like by this summer we’ll have full operational use of the roof. 

“… It’s encouraging. It’s all part of a normal massive mega-project, especially with something that complex,” said Jenkins, who previously ran stadiums for the Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Eagles and Milwaukee Brewers. “It takes time. We’re still meeting every week on all kinds of little things we’re still finishing in the building. It takes two years (after opening), in my experience, to finish a building and get it running the way you want to.” 

The roof has been closed for all but two events in the stadium’s first five months because of problems with it. Another issue with the roof has been leaks, which Falcons officials have attributed to the ongoing work. 

Jenkins said he is looking forward to the point at which control of the roof is turned over from the construction team to the building’s operations team. 

“It’s still construction’s, but the handoff is coming real soon,” Jenkins said. “And then we’ll have the flexibility to push the button and put the roof where we want it.” 

 * * * 

Attending his first Georgia World Congress Center Authority board meeting Tuesday, Jenkins heard board members express stern concerns about several aspects of the stadium’s operation, especially regarding egress after events and the sound system. 

“Hey, it’s a passionate group of people that care deeply about the community and about their experience, as do we, so I completely get where they’re coming from,” Jenkins said afterward. 

See full story on the meeting here.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Watch: 9 things to know about Braves’ loss to Astros
Watch: 9 things to know about Braves’ loss to Astros

The Braves lost to the Astros 6-1 Saturday afternoon. But don’t worry, it is very early in spring training. Watch the video above to see 9 things to know from the game. The Braves play the Nationals Sunday at 1 p.m. The Braves open the season March 29 when they host the Phillies.
With hoops in turmoil, should UGA keep Mark Fox for good conduct?
With hoops in turmoil, should UGA keep Mark Fox for good conduct?
Fifteen days ahead of Selection Sunday, college basketball staged, not by design, Speculation Saturday. After the double whammy of reports regarding the FBI’s probe of recruiting, everybody was asking: What does it all mean?  Obvious answer: Nothing good. But in the shorter term, there were questions about which players named in documents...
Kentucky-Missouri basketball: Live updates, stats, box score (February 24, 2018)
Kentucky-Missouri basketball: Live updates, stats, box score (February 24, 2018)

Kentucky basketball plays Missouri at 8:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 24, 2018. Follow along below for the score, live updates and stats from the game. Starting Five: Calipari sticking to his guns with the starters — Gilgeous-Alexander, Diallo, Knox, Gabriel and Richards. Despite the fact that Green, Washington...
Washington P Joe DeMers throws fifth perfect game in Pac-12 history
Washington P Joe DeMers throws fifth perfect game in Pac-12 history

Washington Huskies pitcher Joe DeMers had a career day on Saturday. DeMers pitched a perfect game in an 8-0 win over UC Riverside. He needed just 84 pitches to record 27 outs. It’s just the fifth perfect game in Pac-12 history and the 28th in college baseball history, per the Pac-12. The Huskies improved to 3-2 on...
WATCH: Bill Self brings Big 12 title trophy into locker room
WATCH: Bill Self brings Big 12 title trophy into locker room

More Stories