The man in charge of the El Paso ballpark construction said he's going to oversee construction "until doors open" despite starting a new job.
Chief Engineer for the City, Alan Shubert has accepted a Vice President position with the El Paso Water Utilities under one condition: that he be allowed to stay on the ballpark project until completion. Shubert said he'll be working at the Water Utilities part time until the ballpark is finished and doors open.
The City announced last week that Shubert had taken a job with EPWU as its vice president of operations and technical services. "Because the water utility is part of the city and the president of the water utility assured me that he would let Alan commit as much time as I needed him to be on (the ballpark) site or otherwise he wouldnt' have hired him and Alan probably wouldn't have accepted," said City Manager Joyce Wilson on Monday.
It's been a roller coaster ride for Shubert, who, as a baseball lover, has consistently expressed enthusiasm for the ballpark project. Last Summer, City Rep. Cortney in a public meeting, told Shubert she'd lost confidence in him when Shubert asked for a $5 million contingency fund for the ballpark. "If you're in over your head, then you need to be fired," Niland told Shubert at the May 28 City Council meeting when City Representatives denied his recommendation.
Asked if any of the criticism had influenced the move, Shubert answered no. "This isn't my first rodeo and it's not my first tough project. Sometimes you have projects that you budget at one level and you realize it's not enough to accomplish what you need to do and it always happens on a fast track job. Those kinds of emotions are not uncommon. I've been through them before. It never once made me consider walking away from this project. This is my adopted home town and I intend to make it a better place."
Wilson said the move was a natural career progression for Shubert. "This project is going to end and Alan as a professional, he needs to move on to his own professional pursuits." Shubert is a natural for the water utility job because of his experience with the City, she added.
"It's just a great opportunity for me to advance my career in public works. The water utility can really use me. I've got a lot of stormwater experience a lot of flood control experience. So the timing is just perfect. And they (the Water Utility) just have to be a little patient and let me finish this," Shubert said.
Shubert said he'll only be taking the Water Utility salary once he leaves the City. His first day on the new job is February 3rd.
Taking Shubert's current position will be Deputy City Manager Bill Studor, who has been working closely with Shubert. Wilson and Shubert said it should be a smooth transition because most of the engineering work is finished and essentially all of the work has been bidded out.
"He'll (Studor) will stay on site full time and he'll coordinate with Alan in terms of when he needs to have him here for reasons you need a technical engineer. We have a lot of project manager who oversee projects for us who aren't necessarily engineers so its not unusual not to have one," Wilson said.
Monday afternoon, crews "topped off" the stadium with the final steel piece, considered a ceremonial rite for builders.
The steel skeleton weighs 2.5 million pounds.
Since construction started, 2,500 pieces of steel and 18,000 bolts have been used.
With the steel work complete, crews will turn their focus to other detailed work including the installation of the foul ball poles, drainage, grading and the turf grass for the field.
One the final major steel piece was installed, the 220 foot tall crane that has towered over downtown El Paso for months will be disassembled and removed from the site.