Lego-lover Builds Ohio State Stadium Replica

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Columbus-area man has created a Lego replica of Ohio State's horseshoe-shaped football stadium, complete with a decorated archway and scoreboard made of the small, interlocking blocks.

Paul Janssen of Dublin used about a million Lego pieces to build the recently finished 8-foot-by-6-foot model, which has room for 6,000 Lego people.

It was a challenge to create the rounded stadium out of the mostly rectangular blocks, which fill his basement in stacked containers, but "it's so much more satisfying if you can accomplish something that's hard," the 42-year-old Ohio State researcher told The Columbus Dispatch.

Janssen grew up in the Netherlands and enjoyed building trains out of the popular blocks made by the Danish company, and he found renewed interest in the hobby a decade ago when he moved to the United States. He was hired as an associate professor of physiology and cell biology at the university, then learned more about football and started planning the stadium project in 2005.

It took about 1,000 hours over two years. He studied the stadium, took photos during games, bought or traded for pieces and improvised, such as making pipes for the restrooms out of chrome parts from a Lego truck. He estimated the project would have cost $50,000 or more if he'd bought all new parts.

"It's flat-out insane to build something like that," said Ben Coifman, a fellow Ohio State professor and member of the Central Ohio Lego Train Club, where Janssen is president. "But that's part of what we love Paul for."

Janssen also paid attention to details. He rebuilt one side of the stadium to fix the slope of the stands — "I would have been disappointed forever if I built it like that," he said — and he crafted the mock video screen area on the scoreboard to show the script "Ohio" that's spelled out by the marching band on the field during games.

He's hoping to display the model on campus and use it as a fundraising tool. He's said he's also thinking about possible additions, such as the BCS and Heisman trophies, or maybe even lights.
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