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From the Spring 2018 Edition of Discovery

Coming to Life

“Topping Off”: New Life Sciences Building Hits Important Milestone

mployees of Jacobsen Construction company place the final steel beam, adorned with an 'Aggie Blue' evergreen tree and U.S. flag, at the top of USU’s new Life Sciences Building in a ‘topping off’ ceremony Dec. 12, 2017.

Photo courtesy Mary-Ann Muffoletto

Aggies love tradition, so it’s only fitting Aggie Scientists gathered this past winter to observe an ancient tradition, while celebrating a major milestone in the construction of the new Life Sciences Building.

College of Science students, faculty, staff and supporters, along with VCBO Architecture and Jacobsen Construction employees, gathered Dec. 12, 2017, to mark the placement of the final steel beam atop the 103,000-square-foot facility.

“This a truly a wonderful occasion, as we celebrate excellent progress on our new building and recognize the efforts of so many,” said Science Dean Maura Hagan. “We’re very grateful for everyone who’s involved in this project.”

Topping off or “topping out” ceremonies, as they’re also known, are firmly rooted in pre-Dark Age Scandinavian cultures, although similar traditions are found throughout the world.

David Power, past president of the U.S. Green Building Council and long-time construction manager, wrote in a 2013 article that the tradition reflects the camaraderie of community members pitching in to build one another’s homes or barns. An evergreen tree is placed at the highest point of the structure for good luck, he says.

The beam in the USU Life Sciences Building ceremony sported a sparkly, ‘Aggie Blue’ tree and proudly carried a U.S. Flag to its destination. Attendees applauded as the Stars and Stripes rose toward the sky.

College of Science Ambassador Jesse Steadman, Science Council member and biology major

College of Science Ambassador Jesse Steadman, Science Council member and biology major, joins other ceremony attendees in signing the new Life Sciences Building's final steel beam before it’s hoisted to its permanent position atop the structure.

Photo courtesy Mary-Ann Muffoletto


The university broke ground on the new facility, which is situated on the site of the former Peterson Agriculture Building, on April 25, 2017. The four-level structure, slated for completion in Fall 2018, will house teaching labs, lecture halls, collaborative study space and a café.

Learn more about the building “Coming to Life” campaign and follow the building’s construction progress at comingtolife.usu.edu

By Mary-Ann Muffoletto

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