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News & Stories: 2007-08

Calvin to Celebrate Steel Topping
April 18, 2008

Work on the $50 million Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex project at Calvin College is continuing at a rapid clip with some 125 workers representing 40 or so subcontractors daily in action on the college's campus.

Ironworkers place the final peice of steel into place on the Venema aquatics center at Calvin College

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The day's events included a brief presentation by President Byker, lunch with the ironworkers, a traditional steel topping ceremony, and a tour of the Venema Aquatic Center.

To celebrate the progress of the project—which includes a new arena, a new aquatics center and a new indoor track and tennis center—Calvin is hosting an unusual event on Monday, April 21, a thank-you lunch for the contractors which will double as an informational update and will conclude with a structural steel topping ceremony.

The event will begin with an 11:30 a.m. hors d'oeuvre reception in the old Calvin Fieldhouse (being remodeled as part of the project), continue with a noon presentation on the project by Calvin president Gaylen Byker and then wrap up with a 12:30 p.m. informal buffet lunch for all the construction workers, followed by the 1:15 p.m. structural steel topping ceremony.

That ceremony is a traditional one for ironworkers which marks the final piece of steel being hoisted into place on a building, bridge or other large structure.

It does not signify that the project is completed; rather that it has reached its maximum height. Often the final piece of iron is hoisted into place with a small evergreen tree (called a Christmas tree in the trade) and an American flag attached.

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