MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Bucks celebrated on Thursday, August 24th the topping off of the new arena in the downtown arena.
The topping off ceremony included putting into place the highest beam in the structure -- to signify the completion of the roof. The beam weighed just over two tons and was raised up more than 120 feet to the ceiling. It was signed by construction workers who have toiled over the facility.
"This is from zero from 14 months, what you're standing in today," said Bucks President Peter Feigin. "This is an incredible feat of team work. This is an incredible accomplishment. This is much more than a physical building. This is about creating jobs. This is about bringing some of the best concerts and events that this region has ever seen. This is about really redesigning a destination in the State of Wisconsin for us."
As of the end of July, team officials indicated a little more than 50 percent of the project is now complete.
"Excitement, and the excitement is building going into really this next year. Because next year we're going to transform the structure, and shell. That's up here currently into a phenomenal venue," said Mike Sorge of Mortenson Construction.
"It's about the trades. It's about a workforce that gets things done -- and about the most emphatic statement in answer to the question, 'What do you guys do?' You get things done, on time, on budget, at scale," said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.
"This city is reinventing itself before our very eyes," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to the construction workers. "You are playing a big part of the history of this city. You can tell your grandkids, 'I helped build the future of this city.'"
A crew of nearly 700 workers continue the progress on the facility, which will cost more than $500 million. Since our last update at the end of July, electricity has been getting installed at the new arena. The goal is to get the building fully enclosed by late fall.
A combination of state, county, and city funding is covering half the construction costs. Because of the financing structure, however, the public is estimated to pay about $400 million after interest. The team is responsible for any cost overruns and future upgrades.
Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.
Feigin told FOX6 News the new arena belongs to the team's fans. In just a few months, the team wants to start allowing the public to come and tour the new arena. Officials say there will be information on how to sign up for those tours in the near future.