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Bucks arena enclosure to be water-tight by end of November

The Bucks should have plenty to be thankful for this November, especially since the construction manager overseeing work on the team’s new downtown Milwaukee arena expects the building’s enclosure to be water-tight by around Thanksgiving.

Progress continues on-schedule for the 714,000-square-foot, $524 million arena going up near the corner of North 4th Street and West Juneau Avenue. Officials with both the Bucks and Mortenson Construction’s Milwaukee office gave reporters the latest news on the project during a tour of the arena construction site on Thursday.

The enclosure’s water-tight system is scheduled to be finished in November, although crews will still be installing the structure’s zinc exterior panels throughout the winter, said Tess Massaroni, a project superintendent at Mortenson. Massaroni is charged with overseeing work on the arena’s northern side, where the building’s roof curves downward, becoming a wall along Juneau Avenue.

The building’s exterior is made up of several layers of panels, Massaroni said. The first consists of green insulated-metal panels that make up the structure’s primary water-tight enclosure. Over that is a second protective layer, followed by galvanized steel panels, which the building’s outer-most zinc panels will be attached to.

The wall along Juneau Avenue makes up most of the building’s northern side, stopping only when it gets within several feet of the sidewalk. In the remaining space, crews are installing Cream City brick, a lightly yellow-colored brick found on many structures in the Milwaukee area.

Bucks President Peter Feigin said it would be hard to imagine a building in Milwaukee that doesn’t make some sort of use of this type of masonry material.

Besides the enclosure of the new arena, November will also mark the time when employment will be at its height during project construction. Alex Lasry, Bucks senior vice president, said about 800 workers are expected to be on the site next month. He said that essentially all  of the arena’s contracts have been awarded, and that the project is well on its way toward meeting its goals for hiring local workers and contracting with small businesses.

Feigin pointed out that it has been a mere 11 months since the first piece of structural steel was put in place at the arena. Feigin said the project has been proceeding according to schedule ever since.

“We’re standing in a structure that’s literally almost enclosed, which is pretty incredible,” he said.

The arena is expected to be opened before the start of the 2018-19 NBA season. Once the team moves into its new home, the existing BMO Harris Bradley Center will be torn down.

About Alex Zank, alex.zank@dailyreporter.com

Alex Zank is a construction reporter for The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 414-225-1820.

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