In a race against the clock set for the beginning of the 2018-19 NBA season, work on the Milwaukee Bucks arena is continuing at a rapid pace—going from a lattice of structural steel to a completely enclosed building in less than a year.
With concerts already booked for September, the $524 million arena is slated to be opened well before the first NBA tipoff, noted the Journal Sentinel.
Bucks President Peter Feigin told the Journal Sentinel that the organization was planned ahead for the transition from the BMO Harris Bradley Center to the new arena, noting that as “fast as we got this building up and enclosed—just as fast, it's going to be open." Feigin went on to add, "We will have to actually have to operate a building in the next several months."
As it stands, the stadium is 75 percent complete, with 800 workers onsite, noted Mike Sorge, construction executive/project director for Mortenson, which is in charge of construction management on the stadium. That number is expected to decline starting this month, however.
Currently, focus remains on installing zinc and architectural panels on the exterior of the building, with the installation of the east side entrance’s glass panels also moving at a decent pace, according to Sorge.
Otherwise, workers are hanging and finishing drywall and working on terrazzo and flooring, with escalator work also being done. The installation of 16,000 seats also began in November 2017. Work on the arena bowl has also continued.
The team says it is also paying close attention to the fan experience, focusing on determining what the food and beverage service is going to be like.
"We want to make it so people will want to come back,” Feigin noted.
The 714,000-square-foot multi-use facility, which will feature a grand entry, intimate seating and open concourses will be covered in a zinc patina exterior, punctuated by glass cutouts.
“The hand-crafted zinc and glass exterior wraps the energy of a multi-purpose arena full of social gathering spaces and a new public plaza extends the development as a year-round catalyst for the transformation of downtown Milwaukee,” said Brad Clark, senior principal at Populous, which was tapped as the design lead early in 2016 (along with Wisconsin-based firms Eppstein Uhen and HNTB).
The look of the panels was met with criticism, some calling it too “rustic.” Designers maintained that it will make the arena a unique feature to the cityscape and borrows from the region’s natural environment of rivers, lakes and forests.
According to Feigin, there have been no issues regarding timing or budget when it comes to key project components such as steel and cement.
"The hard work, dedication, craftsmanship and safe work practices put in by every craftworker is impressive," Sorge said.
"Everyone involved in this project should be proud of what they have contributed and built for this community," he said. "It is exciting going into the New Year knowing the project team will deliver a new state of the art home for the Bucks."
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