There’s still a lot of time until the Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District opens for the 2020 NFL season. But the project reached a noteworthy milestone on Tuesday afternoon, as the highest steel beam was placed on the structure.
The topping out ceremony is a tradition for construction projects to commemorate that final beam going in. And on Tuesday, the Rams, Chargers, and the entire construction team celebrated a significant checkpoint in the massive undertaking.
The seating bowl’s final beam checked in at 42 feet long and 12,000 pounds, and each of the over 2,000 construction workers on the project had the opportunity to sign their name to it before it went up. After a lunch ceremony for the workers catered by Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen — a restaurant based in Inglewood since 1999 — the beam was trucked down into the bowl of the stadium. There it was attached to a crane, which lifted it into the sky and put it in place dead center on the west side.
The two ironworkers who were at the top of the structure to put the beam in place, Victor Tabora and Paul Graham, met 16 years ago while at apprenticeship school. They’ve worked several projects together, and also set the first piece of steel for LASED.
Per tradition, an evergreen tree and an American flag were both placed atop the beam before it went in to symbolize good fortune, continued growth, and a safe work environment.
“Today has really been to celebrate the 2,500 workers, the four million safe hours they’ve been on this site, and to thank Turner/AECOM Hunt, HKS, and Legends for all the hard work,” Rams C.O.O and E.V.P. of football operations Kevin Demoff said. “There’s a lot of hard work to do, but it’s special moment.”
“I look at this as, I remember standing where we are now on top of the Hollywood Park grandstands, spinning around and looking the landscape and trying to understand — could we do this? Could we build this? And now you sit here today, the stadium getting that final point of steel in the bowl, you see a stadium coming out of the ground,” Demoff added. “I think, yes, we still have two more years until we kick off football in here. But it’s a special moment for all of us who have worked for what’s coming for Inglewood, for what’s coming for Los Angeles. This stadium is not only going to bring back two teams, but the Super Bowl, the Olympics, and so many great events back to the city.”
Inglewood mayor James T. Butts also recognized the significance of the moment not just for the construction project, but also for the city as a whole.
“What this represents is employment for our residents. This represents the drop of a 17.5 percent unemployment rate down to 5.5 percent,” Butts said. “This represents local subcontractors finally getting their share of the pie. And what this stadium symbolizes and represents is the beginning of the development that will produce probably 12,000 permanent jobs from the entry-level, management level, executive level that are Inglewood residents will be eligible to compete for and be able to raise their families and work right here in the city of Inglewood. That’s something we’ve never had before.
“Look, you can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to go from what people thought of our city before to what this represents now,” Butts continued. “It’s very seldom where there are opportunities to give a community pride and there is community pride that is effervescent from this experience. We’re just so grateful to the Rams, grateful to the Chargers, grateful to Stan Kroenke for making this happen.”