Chris Carroll, Civil Engineering, University of LouisianaThey wanted a time-lapse video of the construction, and we wanted everything to run smoothly. So we wanted to build everything in pieces, to be able to assemble it easily. We had the AV people at Tech come in and set up a camera to record half-second video clips, every 30 seconds. Then we set up an assembly line, and on Friday and Saturday we built everything, then unassembled it.

At Tech you get a whole week off for Thanksgiving, so Monday morning before Thanksgiving, we hit 'Go' on the camera, took the pieces we had, and put those together in order. We had an interior set of formwork, then we put the rebar over that, and then we put the exterior formwork around it. We poured the concrete-- or placed it, some people don't like the term 'pour'-- OK, we cast the concrete on Tuesday. Then we all left. Usually you want it to set up in 28 days, but we only had 10. So we used higher strength concrete.

I had to be in DC the Sunday after Thanksgiving to start filming, so I relied on the guys at Tech to remove the forms.

We started filming at a bunker in Lorton, Virginia, just south of DC. There's a facility there where the DC fire and police departments would go in case of a bomb. Nobody knew about it, it was in the basement of a prison. We filmed there for one day, there wasn't much there.

Then we went to The Greenbriar, a resort in Lewisburg, West Virginia. This thing is amazing. It started off as a resort for kings, queens, royalty from other countries, then it turned into a hospital-- maybe in WWII?-- then it was made back into a resort.

When the Cold War started, underneath an addition to the hotel they built a bunker for Congress. It's basically two football fields stacked on top of each other. No one knew about it for 30 years. We got to stay there for three days.

At the resort?

Oh yeah, it was sweet.

At the resort we started filming in the bunker, which is neat because it's hidden, but it's hidden in plain sight. There's a wall that moves, and there's a blast door behind it that weighs, I think, 15 tons?

We filmed there for three days, and there was a history professor from the Ivy League. She did the historical stuff, and I did the technical stuff. It was so much fun.

When she was filming stuff, I didn't have to be there, so I just checked the place out. The hotel is kind of spooky. It's huge, and it was pretty empty. They asked me "Have you ever seen 'The Shining'?"

I said "No," and they said, "Don't go watch it tonight by yourself, because you won't sleep."

We did all the inside and outside filming there. There's another door that was the main access to the bunker that weighs 25 tons. I got to open and close it for the program. I also interviewed a guy about the ventilation system. So we filmed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at The Greenbriar, and Thursday afternoon we left for Tech, which is only a half hour away.

We walk into the lab, and the students and lab technicians had it all set up. They had to make an apparatus to release the wrecking ball from the crane, because the crane isn't made for sudden release. The crew filmed me walking around it and talking about it, and when we finished that, we dropped the wrecking ball.

Three times. I didn't really know how much the bunker could take. I had an idea, but I wasn't sure how far the ball needed to drop. So we dropped it from 6 inches, 12 inches, & 18 inches.

12 inches inches pretty much did it, but we did it from 18 inches just for fun. The ball weighs 3,000 lbs, and the higher you drop it from the impact point, the more it accelerates. The whole bunker was only 5 inches thick, and the capacity I calculated was about 30,000 lbs.  With acceleration, 18 inches was about that much load.

The production company absolutely loved it, and The History Channel loved it.

That was the end of The Greenbriar portion of the show. From there they went on to Chicago to do a Lost Worlds show on Al Capone.