In October the city of Sioux Falls conducted a media tour of the Denny Sanford Premier Center.  An army of workers properly attired were scurrying about.What started as an observation turned into a privileged glimpse into the construction of the facility.

What caught my attention was the stickers on the helmets and how some workers had more or different decals.  Even some of the representatives from the city had the markers and upon a closer look, the “Roof Access” decal was intriguing.  If someone from the city who was not a construction worker could be cleared for Roof Access, it was a possibility for a curious media type.

So I asked and was granted.  Early one morning, I joined the crew for the morning gathering complete with stretching exercises.  Arms, legs, neck and shoulders were put through a series of stretches to minimize injury potential.  After the stretches a mini survey of the different contractors and subcontractors gave updates on their areas to give a picture of the progress.

Then there was a training session along with some new workers on the site.  Plenty of do’s and don’ts were a part of the presentation which underscores the safety regulations and being aware of your surroundings.

Granted, I did not have free reign.  However with an escort, we went to the catwalk and up to the top of the structure.  An overcast sky with the sun yet to break the horizon made for quite a sight.  The first landmark to catch the eye 115 feet above ground was the cathedral.  Witnessing planes on their decent to Joe Foss Field was also quite striking.

The roof itself is just a roof.  Tin sheeting covered with a layer of insulation and rubber over the top.  The structure is arched to allow for the runoff of precipitation.  Also of note is the emergency ventilation system.  In case of an emergency or accident that fills the event center with smoke, this super sucking system will pull the offending gases outside quickly.

My thanks go out to Mortensen Construction and their willingness to make this happen.  It’s just another layer of how this project is coming together.  Very soon all the pieces will be in place and within a year the workers will be satisfied with a job well done.

(Dan Peters/KSOO)