Behind the scenes at the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station

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Women in construction tour one of the most unique, all-union building projects under way in St. Louis

By SHERI GASSAWAY
Correspondent

SNEAK PEEK: More than 80 women in construction got a behind-the-scenes jobsite tour of the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station as part of an event hosted by the St. Louis Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction to celebrate National Women in Construction Week. – Labor Tribune photo

Donning hardhats, safety glasses and steel-toed boots, more than 80 tradeswomen and women in construction careers got a behind-the-scenes tour of the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station jobsite.

The March 5 event was one of several hosted by the St. Louis Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to celebrate National Women in Construction Week.

Representatives from McCarthy Building Companies led the women on the tour, providing details on the new aquarium’s key features and explaining some of the unique challenges on the complex construction project.

“We were really pleased with the response we had for the jobsite tour and are extremely grateful to McCarthy for the opportunity,” said NAWIC President Stephanie Anderson. “We had 84 women register and several others on a waiting list.”

CODY KELLER, a McCarthy project engineer, shares details on some of the key features of the new St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station with tradeswomen and women in construction careers who took part in the March 5 event. – Labor Tribune photo

ST. LOUIS’ FIRST AQUATIC ATTRACTION
The 120,000-square-foot, two-story aquarium, being built inside the footprint of a 19th-century train shed designated as a National Historic Landmark, will include one million gallons of water and house 13,000 fresh and saltwater aquatic animals, including sharks and otters.

The attraction, the first of its kind in St. Louis, will include interactive displays and touch tanks, behind-the-scenes tours, animal encounters, event space and a conservation and education center.

ALL-UNION PROJECT
McCarthy, a Rock Hill-based company that credits its 100 years of success to its longstanding partnership with the area’s union building trades, broke ground on the aquarium in late 2017. It is expected to open later this year.

John Stiffler, executive secretary-treasurer of the St Louis Building & Construction Trades Council, confirmed that the project is being built all union.

When complete, it is expected to have created 500 construction jobs, and once operational, it will bring more than 100 permanent jobs to the downtown St. Louis area.

A RENDERING of the St. Louis Aquarium under the historic Union Station train shed.

PART OF A FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX
The aquarium is a key piece of the $187-million family entertainment complex planned for Union Station by Lodging Hospitality Management. Additional attractions will include a 200-foot tall Ferris Wheel, a carousel, a ropes course, mini golf, a mirror maze and several new restaurants.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station is located at 201 S. 18th St. For more information, visit stlouisaquarium.com, follow the attraction on Facebook at facebook.com/aquariumstl or call 314-923-3900.

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