Lane Community College Downtown Campus, March 2012 (all photos by me)
Lease Crutcher Lewis, construction manager/general contractor for Lane Community College’s new Downtown Campus, commemorated the topping out of the structure this past week by hosting a well-attended on-site celebration.
Despite a damp chill in the aftermath of Eugene’s record-breaking late-March snowfall, construction workers, design team members, Lane Community College staff, and representatives from the City of Eugene came together to mark this important point in the project’s construction. Lewis treated its guests to a hearty feast of grilled steak sandwiches and baked beans, and invited everyone to sign the ceremonial last beam. As a member of the design team, I added my signature, which joins dozens of others as a testament to the efforts of all who contributed to the creation of this new downtown landmark.
Lane Community College Project Manager Todd Smith signs the ceremonial beam.
Topping out is a custom whose origins are now obscure. According to Wikipedia, the topping out rite is akin to ship launching ceremonies and probably of similar antiquity, done to placate the gods and to shield a building from harm. Whatever its genesis, topping out is a ritual worth preserving, an ages-old tradition that charmingly persists.
Mariko Blessing of Robertson/Sherwood/Architects takes her turn to sign the beam.
All in all, the ceremony served as an opportunity to pause for just a moment and take measure of what the entire project team has accomplished so far. There's much left to be done but the Downtown Campus remains on budget and on track for completion this fall. Our project is topped out, a notable achievement. Congratulations to Lease Crutcher Lewis and its subcontractors for reaching this important milestone.