Library Construction Reaches Milestone

Library Construction Reaches Milestone
Harold Schleifer, dean of the library, signs the last beam.
Ironworkers watch as the last beam of the library renovation project is lifted into place.
Ironworkers Dan Cobb, left, and Scott Wooley attach the last beam. The beam carries the traditional evergreen tree and an American flag.

The University Library addition and renovation reached a milestone Monday, Jan. 8, when the last beam was hoisted into place during a topping-off ceremony.

The $58.5 million project is more than a year away from being finished, but the low-key ceremony brought about some excitement.

“The iron beam really rounded out the structure of the building,” says Harold Schleifer, dean of the library. “There is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but seeing the progress has been wonderful.”

A topping-off ceremony is a Scandinavian tradition that dates back about a thousand years. Though people disagree on the exact meaning, topping-off ceremonies in the United States typically include placing a small evergreen tree and an American flag on the last, or the most load-bearing, iron beam.

“We have reached another milestone in the Library project. The topping of the last beam symbolizes a culmination on the continued efforts put forth by our project team. Reaching this stage of the project brings us one step closer to completing a facility that has been eagerly anticipated by the university faculty, staff members

and students,” says Andrew Naranjo, project manager of the Library addition. “We are all very proud to have reached this milestone and we look forward to our grand opening in summer 2008.”

Once completed, the library addition and renovation project will provide a state-of-the-art regional educational center, complete with classrooms, technology research workstations, a two-story reading room, 24-hour research lab and a full-service Starbucks.

The library project is slated to be done by spring 2008.

In the coming weeks, the university plans to display large renderings of the project design on fences surrounding the construction site.