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Topsoil Installation A Challenge At 49ers' New Stadium


topsoilOne of the problems Jack Hill ,the project executive for the 49ers' new $1.2 billion stadium, faces is how to install 2,000 tons of dirt and topsoil 150 feet in the air.

"The topsoil is wet, it's heavy, and we have to get it pretty high off the field," Hill said earlier this week.

It's a unique challenge for Hill, who most recently worked on the Cowboys' new stadium, and that's the point.

The topsoil is intended for what the 49ers hope will be the best part of the venue, a 27,000-square-foot, energy-saving roof that will support a garden of amazing plants, which in turn will soak up rainwater and provide insulation for the tower of luxury suites it sits atop.

The roof will be the first of its kind in the NFL ,and CEO Jed York wants it to be the 49ers' version of the Green Monster at Boston's Fenway Park or the B&O Warehouse at Baltimore's Camden Yards.

topsoil install man"There aren't that many iconic ideas in football stadiums," York said. "It symbolizes what we're doing in that it combines energy efficiency and technology and the fan experience. And it's elegant and classy. That's the overall vision of the stadium."

York and the 49ers broke ground on the project Thursday. On hand for the ceremony was one former 49ers coach, George Seifert, who as a teenager worked as an usher at old Kezar Stadium,and the current one, Jim Harbaugh, who told the assembled crowd that the 49ers were building a "great football cathedral."

At the end of the ceremony, York and others took golden shovels to a patch of earth that marks the center of where the stadium will be built.

The 68,500-seat facility is scheduled to open for the 2014 season, and the 49ers hope it will host 2016's Super Bowl L, the next Super Bowl to be awarded.

Thanks to and, who helped with this article.  Photos courtesty of