By Seth Daniel
Construction workers in Charlestown are giving high grades to Wynn Boston Harbor for their follow-through in making sure to hire as many local workers as possible – particularly those from the Town.
Last Thursday, Wynn and the Ironworkers Local 7 held a Topping Off ceremony to mark the end of the structural steel on the project – as most of the tower is being constructed of cast concrete.
During that ceremony, at least 20 Charlestown workers were on site – many with Local 7 – and said they have really enjoyed working for the casino project.
“They have absolutely made sure to hire local,” said Charlestown’s Bernie Auch, a deck foreman who has been on the job for the past year. “Anyone from Charlestown or Everett who applied to get put on, especially my company (Marr). They abide by the resident preference. I’ve been doing this 16 years and this has been a great project. The summer was really hot, but we gutted it out, working 10 to 12-hour days. We’re going seven days a week now. It’s been a real pleasure to work on this project.”
Auch, like many from Charlestown, said it’s a rare occurrence with Wynn in that they can wake up and see the project from their homes.
Tommy Ward, a safety foreman with Local 7 and Marr, said he has enjoyed his time on the project as well.
“The commute is great, I have to tell you,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve been here five months. I, like many, feel it’s a pleasure to work here. The first step was getting everything going and Mayor Walsh securing the Surrounding Community Agreement. We’re all happy with that. It’s local jobs for local people. This is the best local workforce in the United States and we’re proving that with what we’ve done here.”
And besides the seasoned construction workers like Auch and Ward, workers like Michael Wood have learned the trade on the Wynn job.
Wood has worked on the project as third-year apprentice journeyman.
He said he has had the unique opportunity to work on a very big and complicated job, being able to practice all of the skills needed in ironworking.
“I’ve definitely learned all the aspects of ironworking,” he said. “I’ve learned to work together with all the guys as a group. It’s a project that I can see from the window of my house too.”
Part of the excitement of last week was the celebration of what has been accomplished in a little over a year. While the tower isn’t going to be steel, there is still a tremendous amount of structural steel in the lower levels and parking garage.
“Today, we have 2.5 million sq. ft. of structure, 1.5 million sq. ft. of concrete, a 3,000-car garage, and 1 million square feet of structural steel in place,” said Wynn’s Peter Campot, as more than 1,000 construction workers feasted on a steak tip lunch from Newbridge Café of Chelsea. “This is amazing. The work you have done is amazing. Remember, 15 months ago this was a contaminated field.”
Chris Gordon, president of Wynn Massachusetts Design and Development, said the building is unique to Boston in that the bones will be made of concrete and not structural steel. That explained the reason for a topping off ceremony long before the tower had reached its maximum height.
“It will be cast in place concrete for the tower,” he said. “It helps a lot with floor to floor heights. We have a height restriction because of the airport and so we can get more floors in a smaller space. The steel is a bit deeper and doesn’t allow for that. It’s also good with vibration and gives you a nice, quiet space, which is what you want in a hotel. Most buildings here are steel structures, so this is a little unique.”
He said they decided early on in the design to go with concrete over steel for the tower. The costs are about the same, but the process takes slightly longer, he said.
He said it should take 15 weeks to pour the concrete to the top of the building. Already, the Wynn Bronze glass panels are being delivered to the site, having been individually crafted in Germany.