The final steel beam was placed in the Newton North construction site Friday morning. The "Topping Off Ceremony" marks the completion of the first phase of construction.
About 100 people in hard hats stood on gravel covered mud, amid intermittent light rain and the smell of construction vehicles, to listen to speeches and sign the last beam before watching it be hoisted up to fill the final gap of the infrastructure.
One of the speakers, Mayor David Cohen, thanked the members of the Local Seven Ironworkers for putting up more than 4,000 tons of steel and paid homage to the work they have done.
"I walked up to the third floor the other day, and when I came down I thought I was going to die," Cohen said. "I just want to thank the workers who spent all their days walking on these beams of steel and risking their lives to make this building."
Cohen also thanked the crew for helping keep the project "on time and under budget," and said "the kids and citizens are worth this building."
Superintendent Jeffery Young said, "Newton North is already a great school, just not a great building," and said that the new facility will "enhance rather than impede" the learning of the students.
After the beam was placed, attendants of the ceremony filed into the new Newton North to eat barbecue as the first meal in the still unfinished cafeteria.