Seniors Sign Final Steel Beam in Barbara Walters Center

 The final structural beam of the Barbara Walters Campus Center, signed by the Class of 2019. Photo Credit: Jerry O’Mahony.

The final structural beam of the Barbara Walters Campus Center, signed by the Class of 2019. Photo Credit: Jerry O’Mahony.

President Cristle Collins Judd invited seniors to sign the last steel beam in the Barbara Walters Center on Thursday. The Center will be a “new front door” to Sarah Lawrence, Judd said.

Seniors scribbled their names in an array of colors on the final steel beam to be placed in the Barbara Walters Center.

Admissions staff handed out vibrant markers for signing. “It’s an important day in our history,” said JJ Warren, a senior distributing markers.

“You’ll be the first ones in the building when that beam goes up with your names on it,” the President said in her address to attendees. “It’ll always be in the Barbara Walters Center.” The President thanked workers and donors in her address. The Center garnered $32.5 million in donations, according to Judd. “By placing your name on this beam, you become part of the legacy of Sarah Lawrence.”

Celebrating a new building’s final steel beam, or ‘topping out,’ is a tradition dating back to the 19th century. It marks the point at which the building reaches its highest height. Typically, workers paint the beam white and place a flag or tree on it. Thursday’s celebration had a white beam, but instead of any other decoration, the beam sported a large, green “SLC” on its side.

The signing opened at 12:45. After about twenty minutes, a team of construction workers dramatically lifted the beam high above attendees’ heads and into its place in the skeleton of the Center’s roof.

The signing was postponed from the 25th, Walters’ birthday, due to inclement weather. Seniors and donors were invited to a champagne reception at the President’s house after the event.

The Center is set to be finished in October of 2019. Construction began late this summer.

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The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.