Intuit Dome Tops Out in Inglewood

These sports landmarks are being built by the skilled and trained union members of the 48 local unions and district councils that make up the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.

On March 7, the Intuit Dome celebrated its topping out. As the traditional steel beam, signed by all on site and decorated by an American flag and evergreen tree, made its way 150 feet up, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer admitted he did not know much about construction—but he liked what he saw. 

“We had our players out here the last time and there was nothing except a shovel, a few mounds of dirt and it didn’t seem very impressive,” he said. “It sure didn’t seem like it would be this far along in a year and a half. I don’t know the first darn thing about construction, but it’s pretty impressive.”

Anne-Marie Otey, Council representative, left, hosts a tour for Coro Fellows who are learning about unions.

Thanks, Steve! We agree. The project is being built under a Project Labor Agreement with the LA/OC Building Trades, allowing unions to target local workers for hiring. 

“To date, almost $10 million in wages have been paid to workers in Inglewood and the immediate surrounding areas,” said Gillian Zucker, the Clippers’ President of Business Operations.

That includes Llonzeyah Ellis, 27, an apprentice with UA Local 709 Sprinkler Fitters. He lives in Westmont, an unincorporated part of LA County directly to the east of Inglewood. “I’m on the job for Wolverine, and I’m learning a lot,” Ellis said.  

All Trades are contributing their skills. Approximately 10,500 tons of structural steel in the bowl was erected in eight months, including seven roof trusses that each weigh 200 tons. 

Journeyman Clyde Jeffries of UA Local 709 Sprinkler Fitters has 36 years in his Trade.

And at this arena, it’s not only union Plumbers who especially care about how many toilet stalls are getting built. It’s also a billionaire who is one of the 10 richest people in the world.

Ballmer said the Intuit Dome will have 1,160 toilets and urinals. “Three times the NBA average number,” he pointed out. “We don’t want people waiting in lines. We want them to get back to their damn seats.”

On a site visit by “Building Trades News” a week before the topping out, Richard Zubiate, an IBEW Local 11 foreman for Baker Electric, explained that the roof, with a pattern resembling a basketball net, will actually house solar panels. Combined with state-of-the-art battery storage, the site itself will generate enough power to run its game-day operations.

The dome is aiming for a LEED Platinum certification for environmental friendliness. Zucker said nearly 1,000 trees will be planted throughout Inglewood “in partnership with Intuit and Aspiration to commemorate this milestone, to absorb carbon, to beautify and bring shade to the city. It represents our commitment to sustainability at Intuit Dome.”

Nowadays, that sustainability also extends to the human side—the workers, residents and families who will be the dome’s neighbors, builders, visitors and fans. 

“The Clippers have committed to the biggest Community Benefits Agreement in the history of sports,” said Inglewood Mayor James Butts. “We look forward to the first game.”

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