Carrying the signatures of more than 100 city leaders and representatives, the ceremonial final piece of structure steel at the Dickies Arena in the Cultural District was hoisted Monday in dramatic fanfare with about 900 construction workers watching.
"In January 2020, we will be here watching the first rodeo. I can't wait," Mayor Betsy Price said. "It's going to be so much fun. As fast as this has gone up, it's going to be here long before we know it."
"This new arena is the perfect compliment for a growing city ... it will now be the beacon on the hill. If you haven't noticed, you can see the dome from all over the city," Price said. "What an impact it will have on our booming city."
The $540 million arena is a being built in partnership between the city of Fort Worth and Event Facilities Fort Worth, a private group led by Fort Worth billionaire Ed Bass that has benefited the Fort Worth Stock Show at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. The city's portion of the project, approved by voters by special referendum in 2014, is capped at $225 million.
Construction began in February of 2017. The Beck Group is the general contractor. The facility is expected to be completed in late 2019, in time for the January 2020 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.
The new 14,000-seat multipurpose arena is expected to be one of the region’s top tourist draws. Already, the arena will host the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball first and second rounds and the NCAA women’s gymnastics championships beginning in 2020.
Price said she's been told some concerts are booked, but that she didn't know what they are.
"We're here today to say thank you," Bass said. "Thank you to all the 3,544 workers who have participated in building Dickies Arena so far. We have 800 to 900 workers on site daily."
Three other beams will be signed by the construction workers and also placed in the structure, Bass said.
The ceremony marked the 50 percent completion point of the project, which has accrued more than 1.8 million hours worked, he said.
Bass reeled off some other "fun facts" about the arena, including that 1,000 concrete piers were used to form the foundation and that there's more concrete under the arena than was used to build the adjacent 2,200-space parking garage.
Also, 17.6 million pounds of steel reinforcing bars were used, four million pounds of structural steel, most of which is in the dome, and 1.3 million bricks were used on the building's exterior.
And, 41 miles of plumbing pipe is being installed, 10 miles of heating, ventilating and air conditioning pipe, 14 miles of air duct and 710 miles of electric wire.
Fred Perpall, Beck's CEO, said 300 subcontractors have been involved in the construction to date, including 80 local firms.
"I'm really proud of the work our team has done here," Perpall said. "I'm specifically proud that we've met all of our minority supplier goals. There's no question in the annals of our current firm this is our most significant project."