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Topping-off ceremony for new building draws crowd

Last April, President Mauri Ditzler drew quite a crowd when he rappelled off the Haldeman-Thiessen Science Center. Almost a year to the date of that fundraising event, Ditzler addressed a similarly-sized crowd at the “topping-off” ceremony for the college’s $40 million Center for Science and Business.

After Ditzler spoke briefly to the crowd about the building being a “dream come true” for college planners from a quarter-century ago, a crane hoisted the final steel beam into position atop the building. The beam contained the names of hundreds of students, perspective students, alumni and employees who signed it throughout the past few weeks.

Asked by a reporter what the event meant to him, Ditzler replied with enthusiasm, “It means the building is really going to happen!”
Designed by the award-winning international firm Burt, Hill Inc., the 136,000 square-foot facility is being built by Pepper Construction.

Also referred to as “topping out,” such ceremonies can be traced to the ancient Scandinavian religious practice of placing a tree on the top of a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits of their ancestors that had been displaced.