“Topping Off” Ceremony Held for New Campus Center
A “topping off ceremony” was held today to mark the securing of the uppermost beam atop the college’s new Campus Center, signifying completion of the structural phase of the single-story, $5.3 million project.
The Philander Smith College Board of Trustees approved the construction of a new state-of-the art facility that will encompass a 300-seat dining hall, student union, bistro, and an outdoor seating and meeting area. Preparation for the construction of the 15,700 square-foot project began in the fall of 2012, and is expected to be completed in August 2014.
“Today’s event marks an important milestone in the construction phase of this exciting project,” said Terry Wallace, vice president for fiscal affairs, who is responsible for the project’s general oversight. “In just a few more months, we will add another jewel of a facility to our campus, one that we know will greatly enhance students’ college experience as they matriculate at Philander Smith College.”
President Johnny M. Moore, Ph.D., said the new Campus Center will serve as the “nexus for student life where students may cultivate healthy relationships, exercise their leadership and actively engage in interdisciplinary collaboration that will benefit and support the college’s intention to ‘graduate academically accomplished students who are grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better.’”
Students, staff, administrators and construction workers were given the opportunity to sign the beam before it was placed on the structure.
In addition to Wallace and Moore, others who spoke at today’s ceremony included PSC Board of Trustees member C.J. Duvall; Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow, the college’s chaplain, who blessed the occasion; and Charles Nabholz, chairman emeritus of Nabholz Construction Services.
A topping off ceremony is a long-standing tradition in construction that occurs when the highest piece of steel is placed on a building’s frame. Its ancient origins are traced back to the Vikings who would place an evergreen tree on the top of a building to celebrate and wish for good luck.