UCA to host “Topping Out” ceremony for HPER expansion

DECEMBER 11, 2013
CONTACT: Jeff Pitchford, vice president of university and government relations, at jeffp@uca.edu or (501) 450-3185.
Fredricka B. Sharkey, associate director of media relations, at fsharkey@uca.edu or (501) 450-5114. 

“Topping Out” Ceremony for HPER expansion

CONWAY — The University of Central Arkansas is hosting a “Topping Out” ceremony of the Health Physical Education and Recreation Center on Friday, December 13 at 2 p.m. 

The ceremony will be held immediately west of the existing HPER building on the new concrete slab. Parking is available in the lot just east of the existing building. Inside the HPER center will be used in case of inclement weather. 

Students, staff, administrators and construction workers will be given the opportunity to sign the beam from 1:45 p.m. and 2 p.m. before it is placed on the structure. Representatives from the university and Cone Construction will speak at the ceremony. 

“This ceremony is a tradition in the construction and engineering fields and takes place when the highest piece of steel is placed on a building’s frame,” Diane Newton, vice president for financial and administration, said. “The tradition dates back to the Vikings, who would place an evergreen tree on the top of a building to celebrate and wish for good luck.”

Newton said the event is significant for the people that have been directly involved in the expansion of the HPER center. Newton said the project is on schedule to open the fall of 2014. The expansion will provide over 42,000 square feet of additional space, 14,000 square feet of renovated space and adds a 25-yard, six-lane swimming pool. She is in charge of the general oversight, timeline and budget of the project.