Posts to protect football stadium
By TAMARA LUSH, Times Staff Writer
TAMPA -- Ten months and several football games after the terrorist attacks, the Tampa Sports Authority is installing 700 concrete posts around the perimeter of Raymond James Stadium to protect the massive building from a vehicular assault.
All of the posts will be in place before the Aug. 12 preseason game against the Miami Dolphins.
"You want to have a facade such that no car could have a running start at your vulnerable areas," said Barbara Casey, a spokeswoman for the sports authority.
The posts would stop someone from driving a "bomb-loaded Humvee" into the stadium, she said.
There are already several posts, or bollards, around the stadium.
But after the Sept. 11 attacks, the sports authority began thinking about how to increase security. During last year's home Bucs games, police cruisers would park in front of vulnerable areas, acting as kinds of bollards, Casey said.
After meeting with local law enforcement, they decided to install the posts, concentrating on the glass atrium areas also known as the stadium's "clubs." They are located on the east and west ends of the building.
Installation will cost $120,000, Casey said. The sports authority had to seek bids on the contract to erect the posts, which is why it took several months to begin the work.
At most, Casey said, the stadium will lose two or three parking spaces because of construction.
The posts are about 3 1/2 feet high, she said. Some are moveable, so emergency vehicles can drive closer to the stadium.
Since Sept. 11, more than 250 law enforcement officers have provided security at the stadium for Bucs games. Fans are asked to show up early to clear security, and people aren't allowed to bring bags inside.
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