Ironworkers recently raised an evergreen tree to top off the steel framework of the paint shop being built as part of a $1.6 billion investment to construct a new assembly plant on Detroit’s eastside.
While most recognize the evergreen tree as a classic symbol of the holiday season, for the ironworkers who spent exactly four months assembling 6,500 tons of structural steel into the paint shop’s framework, it means something very different.
The long-standing tradition of raising an evergreen tree – or construction tree as it is also known – marks the placement of the highest beam or structural element of a building.
It also symbolizes that the construction milestone was reached safely and without serious injury.
“In ancient times, the tree was an announcement to the community to come and celebrate the completion of the new building, a tradition that is continued today,” said Joseph Panyard, FCA Project Manager for the new Detroit paint shop. “The last piece of steel for our project was painted white and signed by all of the ironworkers who have worked tirelessly on this project.”
In February, FCA announced the investment to build the first new assembly plant in Detroit in nearly 30 years, bringing 3,850 new jobs to the city. The new plant will produce the next-generation Jeep® Grand Cherokee and all-new, three-row, full-size Jeep SUV, along with their electrified models.