The future home of Orlando City SC and Orlando Pride is starting to rise above the ground with the installation of the steel framing that will make up the north end of the stadium. The north end will house The Wall, the home of the Orlando City's supporters' section and the installation kicked off this year's Kickoff Week events leading up to Orlando City's 2016 MLS home opener against Real Salt Lake on Sunday.
Despite the stadium having been under construction for approximately six months now, this is the first real signpost for fans that a stadium is actually being built and the stadium shape will really start to be laid out in the coming weeks with the other sides to be framed very soon. The new stadium will be made up of 4,600 tons of steel (or the equivalent of 53 space shuttles) and will employ over 500 people at its peak construction period over the summer.
Over 70% of the work on the stadium has been contracted to tri-county business (Orange, Seminole, Osceola) with 50% of those business based in Orlando and over 20% of the contracted businesses are MWBE businesses, which highlights Orlando City's commitment to improving Central Florida. However, most importantly, the stadium is still on track to open in time for March 2017, to the relief of all involved.
"We have been on site for almost six months, but when you are going down, people don't see what you are doing, because you are going below ground level and it's not very obvious," said club Founder and President Phil Rawlins at today's ceremony. "As soon as you start to come vertical and come out of the ground, people can see the stadium starting to take shape. It has a feel, a shape to it, a design to it, has a strength to it. You are looking at big steel girders going up, so yeah it's exciting for us, as people can now see what we are doing, and that starts the excitement for our fans and our supporters and all of our partners to see that this is going to be an incredible facility right here in the heart of Parramore."
The main highlight of the event, however, was a purple steel beam which will be eventually be used in the construction of the stadium. The purple beam will be touring this week's Kickoff Week events -- the CFHLA Tailgate, the Purple Pride 5K, and the Second Annual Orlando City Pub Crawl -- and fans and attendees of these events will be able to sign the beam, which will then become a permanent part of the home for the Lions and Pride.
The club also announced that ticket sales for Sunday's home opener is north of 48,000 heading into the final stretch in the quest to #fillthebowlagain.
Here are some photos of the stadium so far, some updated renderings of the interior, and, of course, the beam: