Local contractors are working long days to ensure that the Q Arena is transformed for the Republican National Convention by Saturday night. That is when all work must be done and crews must be out for the security sweep to happen, according to GOP convention staff.
"Just from yesterday, we’ve come leaps and bounds," said Russ Corron, a contractor from Spencer Township who said he is averaging six days of work a week. "We put down over 100 sheets of plywood. They’re going crazy with the carpet. They’re like ants running around this place, somebody is doing something.”
Corron is a millwright by trade but calls himself a "jack of all trades" in this latest job. He said he has been laying flooring, building platforms and constructing news sets.
Usually I’m in a filthy, nasty steel mill and most of that stuff is shut down and this came available, and I jumped all over it," he added.
Rob Kelly of Chesterland also got excited about the opportunity to work on the convention set.
"I took time off of a job I was at to come and do this because it’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime event," said Kelly, a general contractor who helped build the suite where Donald Trump's family and friends will sit. He also covered the set walls in blue fabric.
Kelly and Corron are two of about 500 workers currently contracted to build out the Q Arena for the convention. Crews are working day and night to finish the project in record time.
"It's never been done before in less than five weeks, and we're going to do it in 29 days," said Dave O'Neil, deputy press secretary for the RNC.
The major task left to finish is the main stage floor. Crews are building walkways, carpeting them and adding seating.