What we do…

Weingart Stadium
Forrest Gump Movie Site Gets Blasted, Sealed and Painted

The beautifully restored Weingart Stadium at the East Los Angeles College sports arena in Southern California





In recent times, the 55-year-old Weingart Stadium in South-ern California began showing its age and was in serious need of repair and upgrades. As a result, the F.D. Thomas team of professionals spent six months performing commercial-grade water blasting, sealing and coatings to the grandstand section of the East Los Angeles College sports arena.

Weingart Stadium has enjoyed its share of accolades. Known as a featured location in the “Forrest Gump” movie, the sports arena also held the 1984 Olympic Games field hockey competition and became the proposed site in the Los Angeles bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. 

The stadium is where Big Ten Conference Championship teams practice and prepare for the Rose Bowl. It is one of the only mid-size stadiums in the western United States that is retrofitted with turf-playing surface certified by the Federation International de Football Association (FIFA), and the arena features an International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) track suitable for championship level.

According to F.D. Thomas Executive Project Manager Mike Mitchel, being part of a team to improve the state-of-the-art sports facility was an honor in itself, but more than that, his team was provided an opportunity to work in the Los Angeles area. “We bid this project as a public job after California passed a bond to invest $2.5 billion for upgrades to its college system, ”Mitchel explains.“  It turned out to be a successful assignment and a great experience for everyone involved.”

To perform the work, Mitchel sent a team of six workers south, led by Project Supervisor Keith Jones.  Each set up temporary housing and went about the task of re-coating vertical and horizontal surfaces at the stadium’s grandstands. Seating at Weingart Stadium is offered on both sides of the field, with a total of 20,355 permanent bench seats and room to accommodate 2,000 standing fans.  As Mitchel describes it, the bleachers procured all the problems associated with being a half-century old. They were cracking and leaking, specifically into the college’s sheriff’s station which houses 12 staff members.

Additionally, the concrete was so damaged in certain areas, it had become a trip hazard. “No work had been done to maintain or improve the bleachers since the facility was originally built in 1951. It was definitely time to get busy on repairs and upgrades,” Mitchel says. 

To counteract the aging process and to preserve the stadium for years to come, Mitchel first evaluated the existing condition of the bleachers and specific damage to different sections. He then developed a preparation and restoration strategy that would ensure long-term protection.

At the south side, Jones and his men prepared the concrete, then sprayed on a fluid-applied polyurethane membrane to seal it.  To the north, the team applied a breathable epoxy with a beige pigment to seal the concrete and dress it up.

The owner was impressed with the quality of work provided by Jone’s crew and issued changed orders to provide structural repairs to a large retaining wall and to recoat the press box roof. The biggest challenge of the project came at the beginning when the F.D. Thomas team was to perform surface preparation with a water blasting technique. “We had to figure out how we were going to blast and coat the surfaces without spraying the 25,000-plus students and their vehicles in the adjacent parking facility,” Mitchell says. “The solution was to install targets and windsocks, and to spray the bleachers early in the morning and late in the day when fewer students were around.”

Mitchell interacted with representatives from Jacobs Pacifica who acted as Construction Managers for Los Angeles County Community Colleges. “Their people were great,” he says. “They made sure the job moved forward quickly and without delays that are often associated with this kind of project.  As a result, we were on time and on budget. Most importantly, the concrete at Weingart Stadium is protected and we dramatically improved the aesthetics. Now, the stadium bleachers will serve their purpose for decades to come.”


Marketing by Make It Happen     Web Design by Technology On Call