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First Truss Placed at WI Arena

Monday, May 8, 2017

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The construction of a new arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, continues apace, as workers on Tuesday (May 2) placed the first truss on the anchor structure of the $524 million complex.

The 23-ton piece of steel was lifted by crane—iron workers in two boom lifts assisted—and then bolted into place at the northwest corner of the arena portion of the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center, which will be the home of the National Basketball Association’s Milwaukee Bucks and the Marquette University men’s basketball team.

Smaller secondary trusses were hoisted to provide a cross-bar connection, which gives the trusses rigidity.

The lift involved workers from Merrill Iron & Steel, a local company that supplied the roof pieces. Janesville, Wisconsin-based construction company JP Cullen also worked onsite.

On Wednesday (May 3), the second half of the main truss—a 150-foot section—was raised. Bolted to the piece installed Tuesday, it formed the first complete span of steel across the seating bowl. Secondary trusses will be added, and the first of nine trusses to be placed this summer will be complete.

"It's kind of like a big Tetris game that we're playing here," Ellen Becker, a project engineer with Mortenson Construction, the construction manager for the arena project, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

'It’s Fantastic'

Bucks president Peter Feigin watched Tuesday's lift, and he was thrilled with the progress of the arena work—especially since he said it was on time and on budget.

"It's emotional. It's fantastic. I mean, you couldn't have realized it six months ago and now you're actually building a cap on a building, which is pretty interesting," he said.

Complex Options

The arena, which was partially funded with $250 million in public money, is scheduled to open in time for the Bucks’ 2018-19 season. The 714,000-square-foot arena will be part of a 27-acre entertainment, residential and business district in downtown Milwaukee.

Projects slated for the complex include:

  • Northwestern Mutual’s $450 million office tower and $100 million apartment high-rise;
  • The $137 million BMO Harris Financial Center office tower;
  • The $122 million Couture apartment high-rise;
  • The $80 million conversion of the Warner Grand Theater into the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's performance hall; and
  • The $50 million Westin Hotel.

Design Team

The arena was designed by Kansas City, Missouri-based architecture firm Populous, in association with Eppstein Uhen Architects and HNTB. Populous also designed the new Yankee Stadium, which was completed in 2009, as well as the retractable roof placed on the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, England.

Artist's rendering courtesy of Milwaukee Bucks

A 714,000-square-foot arena, which is an anchor of the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center, is scheduled to open in time for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks’ 2018-19 season.

The new arena boasts open, transparent concourses; bars and restaurants that will offer a view of the action on the court; and luxury boxes and other premium seating options.

The majority of arena seats will be in the lower level. The Bradley Center, the Bucks’ current venue, was designed for hockey, and has 10,000 seats in the upper level. The new arena will have 6,000, with 10,000 in the lower bowl.

"The people who live here who have not experienced basketball in a facility designed for that—it's huge," said Denver Callahan, Mortenson's senior superintendent for the new arena.

Callahan was pleased with the progress of the construction.

"Overall, for the winter here in Milwaukee, it's been very, very good," he said. "Right now, we're right on schedule."


Tagged categories: Amusement Complexes; Architecture; Building Envelope; Construction; Design; North America; Roofing contractors; Stadiums/Sports Facilities

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