As construction on the new $278-million Mosaic Stadium continues, there are a special pair of eyes that carefully watch to make sure the massive building goes up the right way.
Perched from his spot outside the fence, Charlie Wickenheiser glances way up at the cranes and machinery that work tirelessly at piecing this complicated project together one steel beam at a time.
He may not be on the payroll, but the 88-year-old is an important part of the team. The senior started showing up at the site every week to check on progress shortly after the build began. Employees of PCL Construction noticed and decided to give him his own white hard hat to go along with his own unique title of “Sidewalk Superintendent”.
“It made me feel pretty good to be involved with such a huge project. I never expected anything like this,” he explained.
Being around construction is nothing new for Charlie. In fact, why should anything change now in retirement after spending his entire working life in the business? Wickenheiser constructed apartment buildings and warehouses in his younger days. However, he can’t say he’s ever built a stadium.
Until now that is, at least indirectly with his new “Sidewalk Superintendent” title.
“My dad’s very proud of that. Working with my dad all our lives, my dad never stood around and watched so it’s kind of a different position that he’s in now, watching guys work rather than doing it himself,” Charlie’s son Claude outlined.
Even though being on a construction site for Wickenheiser could be considered almost like a second home, he’s still amazed by the magnitude and scale of this particular build.
“It’s a beautiful building. It’s unbelievable the way they put this building up,” Charlie expressed. “Quite impressed with the way it’s going.”
The 88-year-old may not be as nimble as he once was, needing the help of his son to walk and get in and out of Claude’s truck. What Charlie lacks in mobility though, he makes up in passion for the project.
“Talk about a football field, but this is more than a football field.”
He can’t wait to get inside the stadium once it’s completed, eager for a closer look at what construction crews have created.
They say it can be hard to let go of the past, but for Charlie, his past can now be his present.