BANGOR, Maine — Jon DiCentes hears a lot of comments from people about the ongoing construction of the Cross Insurance Center, even when people have no idea who he is or what he does.
And the talk rarely fails to bring a smile to the face of the project manager for the construction of the civic arena and event center.
“Wherever I go, people are talking about the Bangor project,” said DiCentes, senior project manager for Cianbro Co. “And that’s something I hear about even if they don’t know I’m involved with it at all.”
In a telephone interview Tuesday, DiCentes wouldn’t address long-repeated rumors that the company is far ahead of its initial construction schedule.
“I have nothing to do with planning and event scheduling, but I can tell you we’re [very] happy with our progress. We’re still going to be complete by next September,” he said. “That’s the part that people need to understand. We still have a building [Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center] to demolish and a parking lot to build.”
DiCentes said the $65 million project will soon hit a significant milestone.
“We’ve almost hit the thousand mark for total employees at this job,” he said. “What an economic boost to the city of Bangor this is. “We projected we’d have about 1,500 employees working on this job in total, so we’re on track with that initial estimate.”
The Cross Insurance Center is frequently pointed out as a key example of Bangor’s revitalization, according to DiCentes.
“The thing you hear, the chatter and the buzz from people, is they can’t believe how far Bangor has come in the past five years,” he said. “I’m proud to be part of it. It’s good to hear.”
The pride DiCentes takes in the mammoth, complicated project is evident in his voice when he talks about the effort put forth to stay on schedule and solve unanticipated problems as they’ve come up over the past 15 months.
“This is a unique project in terms of its size, scope, challenges and features. This is a complicated, intricate and epic project,” DiCentes said. “It’s been a great personal pride project for me and most of the workers involved, and I am absolutely convinced, because of this, that there is not one project in the state of Maine that can’t be built by Maine workers.”
DiCentes said the ongoing arena work involves everything from the installation, startup and testing of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems to finished work, such as painting and floor installation.
“It’s quite a wide range of work going on right now on the interior,” DiCentes said. “We’re in a variety of finished phases right now, from painting walls and ceilings to millwork and installing finished flooring, and then in other areas we’re still hanging Sheetrock. And we’ll be installing seats next week.”
Outside the facility, Cianbro is finishing up some of the site grading and will be working on curbing and sidewalks. Landscaping — including tree planting, lawn work, bushes and flowers — won’t begin until next spring.
DiCentes said the frequent rain of the past three weeks, including the windy, wet conditions resulting from Hurricane Sandy, have not affected his construction timetable or ongoing work at all.
“Absolutely not. No effects on our schedule and work,” DiCentes said. “Now that we’re under cover, we’re not impacted by weather and not under any weather constraints anymore.”