MINNEAPOLIS -- With the final steel beam put into place Friday, the structure of the new Target Field is complete.
As nearly 1,400 workers looked on, the beam -- adorned with an American flag and signed by many of the workers and Twins staff -- was raised by a crane as part of the Topping Off Ceremony, signifying the completion of the structure. More than 75 percent of the new stadium is now finished.
"Setting the last piece of steel is a significant milestone in the construction of Target Field," said Mortenson's Construction executive Dan Mehls. "With the structure of the ballpark complete, there are still many more exciting things ahead of us."
Some of those upcoming projects at Target Field include the installation of seats -- which was underway Friday afternoon, starting with the seats in the Terrace Level -- and the ongoing construction of Target Plaza. The Plaza will be open to the public year-round and will serve as one of five entrance points into the ballpark.
Construction of Target Field began in the summer of 2007 and is on pace to finish on time -- and on budget -- for Opening Day 2010. The total cost of construction is $425 million.
"This project goes back 12 years, but for those of us that have been in the design and construction of it for the last three years, it has just been an incredibly intense effort," Mehls said.
"It really has been a remarkably successful project," said Steve Cramer, chairman of the Minnesota Ballpark Authority. "I'm so pleased that as this project has come together. It's had a huge positive economic benefit during a difficult time economically in our community."
Mehls said it took over 3,300 craft workers on the project to complete the stadium to where it is now, and expects the final total to be close to 3,500 when the finishing touches are put on Target Field.
"The craftsmanship on this project is bar-none," Mehls said.
Other recent construction on Target Field included the installation of the "Twins" sign above the 57-by-101-foot scoreboard, as well as the "Budweiser" sign that will sit above the Budweiser Roof Deck. Also, Minnesota-grown black spruce trees have been planted in front of the batter's eye in center field.
"When we started this pursuit three years ago and we got the approval, we promised we'd build the best ballpark in America," Hennepin County board chairman Mike Opat told workers at the ceremony. "And thanks to you, I think we've done that."
Tyler Mason is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.