Proceeding according to plan
New Bucks arena construction on schedule

By Brandon Anderegg - Freeman Staff

Oct. 6, 2017

 With the last precast concrete fitted into place, construction crews are dismantling the final crane.
Brandon Anderegg/Freeman Staff

MILWAUKEE - The $524 million dollar Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center is on schedule and budget as the crew dissembled the final large crane located at the center of the would-be court, according to Mortenson Construction Superintendent and Construction Executive Mike Sorge.

Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin and the Mortenson Construction team invited media members for a tour of the arena Thursday morning. During the tour, the team highlighted the progress of the east zinc-paneled siding, the arena seating bowl and the east atrium.

With the final piece of precast concrete fitted into place, the new Bucks arena will reach complete enclosure by Thanksgiving - 11 months after the first structural steel column was set, according to Mortenson Enclosure Superintendent Tess Massaroni.

"This is the last push to the end of November for water-tight enclosure," said Massaroni. "There will still be some panel work to do."

Workers will begin installation of the 2,000 glass panels in the coming weeks, which makes up a portion of the arena's eastern side. Over 14,000 aluminum and zinc panels will join glass paneling to form the building's weather-tight exterior.

 Construction workers install zinc panels on the arena’s north side off West Juneau Avenue.
Brandon Anderegg/Freeman Staff

Several escalators linking all four levels are being installed in the nearly 100-foot east atrium, which will face the new 4th Street public plaza and future entertainment block. Fans looking out the full-height curtain wall of glass paneling as they ascend to the uppermost Panorama Level will have  some of the best views the city has to offer.  Feigin said trips down the escalator should be an event and an experience in itself.

"This is going to be a real pride of ownership in the state," said Feigin.

Many people have concluded from the artistic renderings of the 714,000 square-foot building that the faŤade is made of wood. However, this wood-like material is actually patinated zinc paneling - patination being the process of purposefully oxidizing metal to produce textured and weathered qualities. Moreover, panels are coated with a sealant for a longer lifespan and to negate any further weathering, according to Icon Project Executive Marc Farha.

"It has a very warm look and it's something unique that has not been done on arenas before," said Farha.

On the northside, half of the patinaed paneling is set in place as workers move from west to east. A wall of cream city brick runs along the bottom just under the panels.

"You can't build an authentic structure in Milwaukee without a touch of cream city brick," said Feigin.

Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry noted there were approximately 750 works on the job site on Thursday. Though West Juneau Avenue is still far from being open to traffic, crews will begin to reconstruct the street in the coming months. The stadium is scheduled to open during the fall of 2018.

Email: banderegg@conleynet.com