Under a bright blue Colorado sky, the crane sputtered to life, the opera diva nailed the high notes and the star of the event – a steel beam – lifted off from the ground, ever so carefully, headed to the top of the Ent Center for the Arts.
More than 100 people attended Wednesday’s beam topping ceremony at the $70 million center, which is under construction and expected to open in early 2018. The center is located at 5225 N. Nevada Ave.
CU Regents Kyle Hybl and Steve Ludwig were in attendance, as well as officials from Ent Credit Union, donors, members of the architecture and construction team, UCCS faculty and staff and others.
Last week, the beam sat on campus near the West Lawn so UCCS students, faculty and staff could sign their names to it. Topping off, or topping out, ceremonies date to hundreds of years ago and are meant to symbolize teamwork, craftsmanship and good luck. A small tree that sat atop the beam symbolized good fortune for the occupants.
“The topping out is a ceremony that signifies that we have reached a zenith; the building’s final height,” said Susan Szpyrka, senior vice chancellor for administration and finance.
Szpyrka and others, including Sally Hybl, who has led fundraising efforts for the center, recognized the many community partnerships that have made the Ent center possible.
As the crane lifted the beam into place, Solveig Olsen sang “Oh Se Sapeste” from Puccini’s opera “Girls of the Golden West.”
— Photos and Video by Jeffrey M Foster