ONEOK Field Holds Topping Out Ceremony

Thursday, August 13th 2009, 12:53 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa's new downtown ballpark is halfway home.  Construction on the $60 million ONEOK Field began eight months ago and the first pitch is scheduled for eight months from now. 

Will it be finished on time?

The Tulsa Drillers hosted a topping off ceremony on Thursday morning, meant to symbolize that construction is officially rounding second.

Topping Out is a construction tradition that dates back centuries, and it's one that was upheld Thursday at ONEOK Field.  The structure's final steel beam was raised, and then carefully put into place.  An Evergreen placed on top of it is meant to symbolize growth, and is supposed to bring good luck. 

City of Tulsa officials say a little luck doesn't hurt, but point out that hard work and careful planning made this possible.

"We are on schedule and on budget and that is a very large relief for us," said Tulsa City Councilor Eric Gomez.

Ground was broken eight months ago at ONEOK Field.  The steel work is complete after workers put in 1,100 tons of it.  The stadium also will feature an estimated 22,000 cubic yards of limestone, and 10,000 cubic yards of concrete.

"If you look at what you see here, it's amazing to see that that much has been done in a short period of time," said Chuck Lamson of the Tulsa Drillers.

The nearly-completed patio behind home plate sports a panoramic view of downtown.  It is the area the team and city hope the park helps to revitalize.

"Everybody that comes to this facility will be overwhelmed and awe-inspired by the beautiful view they will have, in addition to some great baseball," said Tulsa City Councilor Eric Gomez.

Baseball that, if the next eight months of construction proceed like the first eight, the Drillers are confident will be played downtown on opening day.

"The work that they're doing gives us a lot of comfort and confidence we'll be playing ball here at ONEOK Field next April," said Chuck Lamson of the Tulsa Drillers.

The company in charge of the work, Manhattan Construction, says getting to this point has required more than 50,000 work hours.