Final steel beam lifted into place at BMO Centre expansion

Dignitaries gather around the final beam to go into the steel structure of the expanded BMO Centre at Calgary's Stampede Park Thursday. (Mike Symington/CBC - image credit)
Dignitaries gather around the final beam to go into the steel structure of the expanded BMO Centre at Calgary's Stampede Park Thursday. (Mike Symington/CBC - image credit)

A big milestone was reached Thursday in the construction of the half-billion-dollar BMO Centre expansion at Stampede Park.

Painted white, a crane lifted the final 27-metre long steel beam up and workers bolted it into place on the giant new convention centre.

The CEO of the Calgary Stampede, Joel Cowley, calls it a big day.

"As I looked at the beam this morning, I thought to myself, 'I sure hope it fits,'" he said.

Mike Symington/CBC
Mike Symington/CBC

The beam fits and crews can now switch to sealing up the skeleton of the structure.

The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation is overseeing the construction project.

President and CEO Kate Thompson says the $500-million expansion is both on time and on budget.

Mike Symington/CBC
Mike Symington/CBC

"By Stampede next summer, it will start to look like a fully complete building. Meanwhile, we'll have probably over 400 trades on the inside working feverishly to get it done for everyone," she said.

Although it will look finished, Calgarians will still have to wait until almost the 2024 Stampede for the building to fully open.

Mike Symington/CBC
Mike Symington/CBC

The Stampede says it already has 27 conventions booked for the expansion, which doubles the size of the BMO Centre.