Steel Beams at Allianz Field

With the raising of the first column in a ceremony tomorrow and the installation of the first structural steel, the Allianz Field construction project has reached a major milestone. To get here, Mortenson Construction has spent the past five months removing 200,000 cubic yards of dirt from the site and laying 10,500 yards of concrete to prepare what will be the south end of Allianz Field.

Construction Executive Greg Huber provides oversight for the entire project for Mortenson and he sat down with us to talk about what’s happened so far with Allianz Field ahead of tomorrow’s event.

MNUFC: Where in the process of the entire project is this milestone of putting up the first column falling?

Greg Huber: We started in the middle of June, digging holes. So we’re about five months in on a 20-month construction schedule. And it’s falling right on target. This is a big milestone for us to start setting the structural steel. To support all of that, since the middle of June, we’ve been doing a lot of site excavation and we’ve placed nearly 65 percent of the concrete that we need to place, which is about 10,500 yards. Which means that there have been about 1,500 concrete trucks coming to the project since the end of July, when we started our first foundation. We also had a major milestone last week, when we started the demolition of the buildings next to Family Dollar, and proceeding to the west. That is forecast to take another three weeks before all those buildings are substantially demoed, which will clear the area for the foundations to be placed on the north side of Allianz Field.

MNUFC: What makes the installation of the structural steel such a big milestone?

Huber: You will start seeing this project go vertical very, very quickly. When we stand a 50-foot column and it’s extending into the sky, the skyline will be changing very, very dramatically, and quickly. What you don’t see, behind the scenes, is they’ve been fabricating structural steel for the last two months and the drawings have been taking place for the structural steel fabrication since the beginning of May. So there’s been a lot of work in the background to prepare us for the moment. The fabrication of the structural steel is happening by Wausau, Wisconsin. A small town called Schofield. And that’s where it’s actually fabricated, but it’s sourced from all over the nation. As well as that, some special tubes are being made overseas and then shipped here and then fabricated.

MNUFC: Where will the column that’s being signed and placed tomorrow actually be in the building?

Huber: It’ll be in the southeast corner. And it’ll actually be a shorter column that will support a piece of the stands on the east stack of the stands. So you’ll be able to see the column. It’s going to be visible for the entire life of Allianz Field.

MNUFC: What’s been the biggest reward from the project so far?

Huber: I think that the progress of the stadium has been inspiring, and that there have been a lot of people working hard. We’ve been working 10 hour days, six days a week, on critical path work. So there have been a lot of folks — a lot of women and men — who have been working very, very hard, long hours, to get us to this point. And it has been inspiring — to see the project take shape, to see the demolition start, and really start to peer through from the north side to the south side. When you can see University Avenue from Allianz Field, that’s really, really cool.

Tomorrow’s column signing ceremony begins at 3:00 p.m. CT tomorrow, November 21. Follow along on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (all @MNUFC).