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The final structural steel beam of the UCCS Science and Engineering Building was hoisted into place today bearing signatures as well as a four-foot-tall pine tree and an American flag.
Organized by GH Phipps Construction, the building’s lead contractor, “Topping Off” is a construction industry tradition with roots to 700 A.D. in Scandavia. The event is used to mark the completion of a building skeleton to its highest point and to symbolize team work, high-quality craftsmanship and luck for the future. Before being lifted into place, faculty, staff and construction workers signed the beam.
Chuck Silva, a Phipps superintendent, lauded the building’s progress, praised the craftsmanship of crews and subcontractors, and noted that the job had progressed without loss of life.
Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak, an admitted newcomer to the tradition, also complemented crews before thanking campus staff and faculty, CU Regents, the Colorado General Assembly, private donors, and Gov. Bill Ritter.
“Today, we will lift the final piece of structural steel of what will become the largest building on campus into place, one that promises to ignite the spirit of learning in current and future students and provide first-rate facilities for faculty,” Shockley-Zalabak said.
UCCS broke ground for the new Science & Engineering building in July 2006 and expects to move in during summer 2009. The new building will create a complex that significantly expands the current science and engineering capabilities of the campus. In total, the new complex will have about 160,000 square feet, including numerous innovative classrooms and teaching labs (37 spaces), research labs for science, engineering and computer technology (34 spaces) and faculty and staff offices (79 spaces). It will be the largest building on the UCCS campus and one of the most efficient with certification planned as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building.