"Well it's a big project, it never sleeps," says Larry Atema.
It's so big, if you were to flip the convention center on its end, it would be taller than Nashville's Batman building. Senior Project Manager Larry Atema gave FOX17 NEWS rare access inside the worksite, starting with the underground tunnels. Half a mile of road systems are built into the building, and a large tunnel connects the convention center to the Bridgestone Arena. VIP's will have easy access. Above ground the work never ends. The new exhibition hall is enormous, covering the entire 5th floor of the building. This is where conventioners and trade shows will display their products and new designs.
"It's designed to accomodate the 25,000 people that occupy this building at any one time," says Atema.
There are 60 meeting rooms, a giant parking garage, and a tunnel that runs through the middle of the ground floor. 4 lanes of 6th Avenue will bisect the building. Even the convention center's roof is unique. Topping the convention center is a 4 acre green roof. This landscape material helps reduce the heat on the building, and minimizes water run off. Solar panels will also be added. The wavy design of the roof is meant to mimic the rolling hills of Tennessee. The Music City theme continues inside to the grand ballroom. It seats up to 6000 people for dinner, and its curved walls will make guests feel like they're inside a guitar.
"It's 57,500 square feet, the largest ballroom in Tennessee," says Atema.
Workers are now building the stage at the ballroom's North end. Future Presidents and celebrities will no doubt speak from there. Construction of the new Music City Center falls to the nearly 1500 workers on site, and keeping everyone safe is Larry Lopez' responsibility.
"Safety of course is something we try to focus on every day," says Safety Manager Larry Lopez.
Lopez is one of 2 safety managers there. He must balance production and quality with working to deliver Music City Center safely and on time.
"We are working 7 days a week and trying to stay ahead of schedule," says Lopez.
Much of the work is now focused on the exterior finishes, but plumber Ron Page has spent most of the last 18 months indoors.
"I've done a lot of big projects," says Foley Company Plumber Ron Page. "I did the arena back years ago. I've done a lot of the hospitals around here, but by far this is the largest."
Page and his crew of 103 are busy plumbing the convention center's 71 bathrooms.
"This will be something that I've left behind, that a lot fo our people that have worked here leave behind," says Page.
From top to bottom, Music City Center is reshaping downtown Nashville. City leaders hope this big building creates a longstanding legacy. The Music City Center is on track to open in April 2013, and we're told it's also on track to meet its $585 million budget. So far, over 60 conventions have booked space in the new building.
Tuesday, March 13 2012, 08:49 PM CDT
Special Report Videos
US durable goods orders rise 3.3 percent in April
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rebounded in April, buoyed by more demand for military and civilian aircraft and an increase in business investment.
BC-US--Dow Record-Three Personal Stories, 1st Ld-Writethru,1173
Dow Record: Three tales of ups, downs and changes
AP Photo FX102, FX103
Eds: With BC-US--Dow Record. Adds photos.
By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- When the Dow first crossed 14,000, investors were overjoyed. ...
IN THE NEWS: RESTAURANT FLAP LEADS TO INTERNET MELTDOWN
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- It isn't exactly to curry favor with your restaurant customers -- even if your specialty isn't curry.