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For Hammes Co. President Robert Dunn, the $130 million, 6,600-seat Lambeau Field expansion is a chance to finish what he started.

The expansion is part of a $143 million stadium renovation announced Thursday by the Packers.

The company, based in Milwaukee with a Madison office, where Dunn works, is project manager for the job, just as it led the last renovation at Lambeau, from 1999 to 2003. That first project added 11,000 seats at a cost of $295 million.

But it was specifically designed to leave a gap in the south end zone's seating area for future expansion that would reflect needs perhaps not even envisioned at the time, Dunn and Packers spokesman Aaron Popkey said Thursday.

And now that gap will be filled, with outdoor seating like the rest of the stadium but with chairbacks on the seats and with a special concessions-and-amenities area behind them that will be designed with a club-like atmosphere.

"It's a pretty unique opportunity," Dunn said about the job. "It is new and different. The idea is to create almost a tailgating atmosphere inside the building, during the game, and to have a set of amenities that really plays that up. It'll be something totally unique within the league, and yet consistent with the architecture of historic Lambeau Field."

The new section's physical design, with four steep levels of seating, also will help intimidate opponents during games, Dunn said.

"It's been designed in a very vertical configuration to create the effect of a wall of fans," he said. "So when the Vikings, for example, are driving south towards our end zone, they'll feel like they're driving into a sea of green and gold."

Dunn also said the company was pleased to be contributing to a project that will add jobs — about 1,600 construction workers over two years — and generate an annual economic impact in Brown County estimated at $11 million, with some statewide impact, too, during and after construction.

"We're talking about the creation of jobs at a point in time when they're desperately needed in this state, plus the ongoing economic impact, on Game Day and non-game days," he said. "It might be the best example we have in Wisconsin right now of major economic development."

 

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