CONSOL Energy Center shined bright again on Tuesday night as the Penguins hosted an open house for all the construction workers whose efforts helped make Pittsburgh’s sparkling new state-of-the-art facility a reality.
|Justin Wehring proposes to his girlfriend, Ashley Walker, at the Penguins' construction worker open house on Tuesday. |
Among the highlights of the evening were self-guided tours which allowed the workers to proudly admire their fine work alongside their families as well as a chance to sample concession stand food courtesy of the Penguins.
Oh, and we even had ourselves a marriage proposal, but more on that later.
Because construction of CONSOL Energy Center lasted approximately two years and included a number of different phases, some of the workers who were involved during the infancy stages of construction were not around to witness the finished product at the end.
As a result, those workers were the most impressed with how spectacular CONSOL Energy Center looked on Tuesday, and they were also appreciative of the Penguins acknowledging their efforts by inviting them to the open house.
“This place is very impressive,” said Jim Neely, who helped draft much of the building’s plumbing for McKamish. “It’s very nice that the Penguins have opened this place up to the public like this. I’ve enjoyed that they have opened the arena up so that we were able to check out some of the suites and places the average person might not be able to see.”
“It just looks so nice,” said Jack Bell, an Action Transportation employee who helped deliver the steel that the steel erectors used to erect the building. “It’s different from the erection to the finished product. I’m enjoying getting to see how well it turned out and thankful the Penguins invited us here to see the facility.”
Many of the construction workers agreed that the open house was a continuation of the first-class treatment the Penguins showed throughout the building process.
“Even during the construction process I can’t count how many times the Penguins came out and had pizza with us,” said Bill Muchesko, vice president of Structal who was attending on Tuesday along with his co-workers Peter Murphy, Peter Clark and Eric Levesque. “We just don’t see that with the other teams we’ve dealt with. It’s just a great organization.”
“I missed the first pizza party, but I was here when they brought the Stanley Cup,” said Paul Sikora of Century Steel. “I had the chance to meet Mario (Lemieux). He gave us a couple of autographs. I was lucky enough to be here when Mario and Sid (Sidney Crosby
) had the first skate. All of that was a nice touch by the team.”
Perhaps the nicest touch of the evening, however, belonged to Justin Wehring, who was attending the open house with his girlfriend, Ashley Walker. It was Walker’s job to file a lot of the paperwork which resulted in CONSOL Energy Center becoming a LEED certified building.
When Wehring found out on Monday that Walker had secured two tickets for Tuesday night, he knew it was the perfect opportunity to propose to her.
|Eric Levesque, Bill Muchesko, Peter Murphy and Peter Clark of Structal chat during Tuesday's open house. |
Within minutes of entering CONSOL Energy Center Wehring ran into PensTV’s Katie O’Malley, who was doing live stand-ups on the Jumbotron during the open house. Wehrig asked O’Malley if he could propose to Walker, and O’Malley quickly gave him the go-ahead after checking with Penguins officials.
“I had (Walker) thinking she was doing a work-related interview,” Wehring said.
Instead it was far from a work-related interview as Wehrig dropped to a knee in front of the First Niagara Club and popped the question to Walker.
Needless to say, Walker accepted Wehring’s proposal.
“It was so special to be proposed to here,” Walker said. “I am still just speechless.”
Speaking of speechless, many of the construction workers think that is the reaction Penguins fans are going to have when they have the chance to visit CONSOL Energy Center as more open houses and official events take place over the next several weeks.
“This place is just gorgeous,” Sikora said. “Fourteen months ago when we walked in here you never would have thought it would be able to be finished. Today it just looks beautiful.”
“I think everything about this arena is tastefully done,” Neely said. “The scoreboard is just exceptional. The size and quality of it is unbelievable. There is quite a variety at the food courts.”
“It turned out fantastic,” said Ed Idzakovich, a materials manager for McKamish. “All of the effort we put in up front trying to get it set up paid off big time. The fans are going to love this place.”