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Tree tops off last beam raised

A tree was raised to the top of the Bainbridge College Student Wellness Center under construction Wednesday, signaling that the last steel beam was to be placed.

With a crowd of approximately 75 persons standing in the shadows of the new building, President Tom Wilkerson welcomed Bainbridge College students and faculty, Board of Regents representatives and construction personnel.

Shortly after a cedar tree was lifted by crane to the highest point of the two-story building, Wilkerson invited those in the crowd to sign the last beam, which was secured later at the top of the building.

“The topping-out tree is placed at the peak of buildings under construction to celebrate the completion of the basic skeletal structure of the building,” said Wilkerson, who was reading from a printout given to him by BC Plant Operations Director Leonard Dean.

Among some of the various reasons buildings under construction place a tree—or a U.S. flag—is that the building has reached its full height, that no one died during the construction of the frame of the building, for good luck during the rest of the construction project, and for good luck of the future owners of the building.

Since an oak tree is a part of the college’s logo, Wilkerson said the tree made the most sense.

The Student Wellness Center is expected to be finished by Nov. 1, if not before.

The 80,000-square-foot center includes a gymnasium that will seat 2,500 persons.

The building also has a second-floor suspended jogging track, a 140-seat dining room and food court, a 2,000-square-foot game room and a 4,000-square-foot fitness center furnished with approximately 40 cardiovascular machines and 40 weight-training stations.

Wilkerson said the building is for the students, and some were there Wednesday as they were given the opportunity to sign the last beam. Approximately 60 people signed the beam.

The building is being paid for by a $125 fee each student must pay each semester.