Ohlone College Celebrates Significant Construction Milestone with Topping Off Ceremony

Friday, April 28, 2017
Office of College Advancement
Ohlone College

People signing a beam.Ohlone Community College District President/Superintendent, Dr. Gari Browning (foreground) along with two District Trustees, add the first signatures to the celebratory last beam.

Fremont, CA-On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, more than 100 people were on hand to participate in the age-old ceremony known as "Topping Off" or "Topping Out" for the three new Academic Core Buildings under construction at Ohlone College. Dating back to ancient times and believed to have originated in Scandinavia, the practice includes the placement of an evergreen tree or branches on the top of a building after the highest and last beam is in place. In contemporary times, one or more flags might be included with the tree and the last beam is signed by the construction workers on site to celebrate this momentous occasion.

And Ohlone celebrated this momentous occasion in a big way! With a 15-foot section of Iron I-Bar positioned on two sturdy wooden risers, and with its side painted white, construction workers, construction managers, architects, students, faculty, staff and administrators came to hear a few brief speeches, to give thanks for the progress made to date, and to sign the beam with names, encouraging statements and in some cases, personal drawings.

Construction workers tie beam to cables.Construction site workers securing the signed celebratory beam with cables for its lift to the top of the Academic Core building under construction.

With a sense of accomplishment and excitement about the future of the Fremont campus, District President/Superintendent Dr. Gari Browning said, "Our students and staff have been watching the Ohlone College Fremont campus transform over the past year, from the tear-down of three obsolete buildings, to site preparation, and now the framework for three new buildings. These structures have emerged in just a few weeks, helping us envision how the college will look soon. The signing and placement of this beam signifies progress toward our goal of providing a future-focused learning environment for our students. This celebration is a happy milestone for Ohlone College."

Because the three Academic Core Buildings will transform the campus with thoughtfully designed, modern architecture that includes lab spaces, classrooms, lecture halls, offices as well as gallery and performance spaces, Leta Stagnaro, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Deputy Superintendent went on to say, "These new buildings reflect teaching and learning innovations happening at Ohlone College. We are aligned with the latest research about how students learn, as well as emerging trends in how knowledge is shared, and our Academic Core building designs reflect these attributes. The topping off signifies that we're well on our way to a stunning new campus."

To add to the excitement of the beam signatures, refreshments in the form of "Beamsicles" were provided for the participants to enjoy. The celebration was concluded after the signed beam was secured with steel cables and the construction site crane lifted it to the roof of the tallest building's frame. The crowd let out a cheer and applauded as it was placed. It was indeed a celebration of a happy milestone for Ohlone College!

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