Academic East topping out ceremony

The University hosted the “Topping Out” ceremony for Academic East on Sept. 17, which included students and faculty signing the final support beam of the building, and remarks from Dean of Engineering Patrick Mather and University President John Bravman.

Haley Mullen, News Co-Editor

Students and faculty took shelter indoors on Sept. 17 as a cool drizzle began to fall. However, at 12:15 p.m., a flurry of activity began under large blue and orange University umbrellas and bright raincoats at the construction site of Academic East for the “Topping Out” ceremony. Students and faculty, equipped with permanent markers, surrounded the final beam that was poised to be secured into the structure of Academic East, the University’s latest large-scale construction effort. The bright orange beam was soon packed with signatures, class years, and doodles from students and faculty members as “a celebration of the last piece support of the structure being put up,” the Executive Director of the Office of the President and University Secretary Carol Kennedy ’96 said.

“I think this is such a special thing, as the students are now able to be a part of Academic East and our names are on display forever,” Sara Nicolia ’20 said as she signed her own name on the beam. Academic East, which is scheduled to be completed in August of 2019, will serve as the new home for the University’s College of Engineering and the Department of Education.

Following the signing of the beam, Dean of Engineering Patrick Mather remarked to the crowd on the similarities between Academic West, which was completed in 2013, and Academic East. “We had a similar ceremony a few years ago for Academic West. It is hard to imagine our campus without Academic West, which is exactly how we are going to feel about Academic East in a few years,” Mather said.

Bravman also addressed the crowd regarding the construction. “When I showed up here in 2010, this view looked very different, and I think that is symbolic of a university on the move. If you want to see what 40 million dollars looks like, now you know,” Bravman said as the audience chuckled. Bravman also thanked members of the construction and contracting teams who have been working for months to build Academic East.

The beam, bearing the signatures of members of the University community, was raised by the construction crew and placed as a support of the roof, completing the structural support of the building. The crowd clapped as the beam was secured, with its bright orange color starkly contrasting the gray cloudy sky.  

Bravman offered final remarks on the design of the building. “I like this building a lot. From a design point of view, Academic East is still recognizable as a Bucknell building, but it has features of modernity that remind us that we do not always have to do things the same way. We are in no way static,” he said.  

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