LOUISVILLE — Officials made some bold declarations about the progress and prestige of the under-construction downtown Louisville arena during a recent tour.
"We're not going to stop construction," said Bill Hedge, project manager for M.A. Mortensen Co. "We are going to play basketball here in 2010, and we're gonna do it in budget."
Progress on the arena is coming with a price tag of about $500,000 a day and employing about 300 workers — which could increase to 600, Hedge told The Courier-Journal.
He was one of the tour's hosts last week, along with Louisville Arena Authority Chairman Jim Host. Members of the touring group included media, Mayor Jerry Abramson and Paula Yancey, a vice president with the arena's project manager, PC Sports.
Never miss a local story.
When finished, the arena, which will be home to the University of Louisville's basketball teams and host the 2012 NCAA volleyball championship, could be "the finest NCAA facility that has ever been built," Host said. Highlights include large lobbies and meeting rooms, a lighted fountain in the entrance plaza and state-of-the-art projectors.
Host and Hedge also played up increased safety measures during the tour, after an accident on the site seven weeks ago left three workers injured. An investigation determined that a subcontractor had incorrectly installed support posts and failed to install 22 additional posts, which led to the collapse of a concrete floor.
The accident pushed construction back by about a month, but work was sped up on other parts of the arena to keep the project on schedule, Hedge said, and extra inspectors have since been on hand to supervise concrete pours.
The tour was Abramson's first visit to the site, he said.
"There are very few cities in America that have got six, seven, eight cranes in their downtown during this very difficult economic time," Abramson said.