MILWAUKEE -- There is now a foundation for some of the seats that will go into the new downtown Milwaukee Bucks arena. The first concrete blocks in what will be the seating area were installed on Wednesday, February 22nd.
"This is a big deal. This is kind of evolving past steel," Peter Feigin, Bucks president said.
The pre-cast concrete blocks that will eventually make up rows of seats were lowered into place late Wednesday afternoon. Mortenson is the construction firm for this massive project. Officials with the company said reaching this milestone means they are about 25 percent through the job.
"I'm a little choked up. I can't believe I am, but it's just incredible. I mean, it's really formed. We're seeing the form of a new arena that was just a groundbreaking in June so this is happening really quickly," Feigin said.
Ryan Wilkinson, the construction superintendent on this shift said the process was cleaner than it once was. You can make sure everything is the right size and shape by the time it gets to the arena site.
"Technology really helps speed up the schedule with 3D modeling and making sure we can model all the pieces prior to building them, fabricating them, and bringing them onto site, so it makes the actual construction here a lot quicker," said Ryan Wilkinson, construction superintendent.
Using the concrete to build the concourses and both upper and lower levels will consume work on the second shift for the next four months. From there, much of the roof will be closed and then workers will be filling more of the seating area.
Another shift will work mainly on the outside -- doing much of the steel work.
It's all part of a $500 million arena. Bucks officials said they're aware many taxpayers are still upset the public is responsible for half that cost. Their message? Just wait.
"This is about the citizens of Wisconsin having an incredible place to come and congregate -- to see entertainment, to see the Bucks, and to really create a living room in Milwaukee, the state's largest city," Feigin said.