It took approximately eight million pounds of steel, 97,000 bolts, and almost seven miles of shop-weld to get there, but more than 300 iron workers were on hand to get a hand on Tuesday, Oct. 2, as Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor led the “Topping Out” celebration at the BOK Center.
The festivities – which honored the iron workers’ accomplishments in the construction of the new arena – included the erection of a 23-foot-long ceremonial steel beam decorated with celebratory banners, an evergreen tree and an American flag. The workers each received a commemorative t-shirt, and a barbecue lunch was hosted by Tulsa Vision Builders, a joint venture of Flintco Inc. and Manhattan Construction Company.
“Tulsa’s hands are building Tulsa’s future,” said construction manager Bob Eggleston. “These workers take pride in building this for Tulsa. They’ve kept going through extreme weather conditions – snow and ice, record rainfall and summer days over 100 degrees.”
Seventy-five percent of the iron workers involved in constructing the BOK Center live in the Tulsa area.
Mayor Taylor announced that the event marked another milestone in the building’s construction. “The design and workmanship on the BOK Center is world-class and, thanks to the exceptional quality of the many who have gotten us to the topping out, it will draw worldwide attention to Tulsa,” she said.
The BOK Center’s steel contract was $27 million – out of a total construction cost of $178 million. The building was designed by internationally-known architects Cesar Pelli & Associates. Other architects on the project include Odell Associates Inc., with Matrix Architects, Engineers & Planners Inc. serving as local lead architects.
Photos by David Arnett