Last week, St. John’s University placed the final metal beam on its new University Center/Academic Center structure in a “topping off” ceremony. The building is expected to open in August 2009.
University President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M, signed the beam, as well as members of Student Government, Inc., and administrators of the University.
“We believe this is an exciting occasion,” said Dr. James Pellow executive vice president and chief operation officer at St. John’s. “It represents a major step in building a future gathering place for our university community.”
According to Frank Sciame, CEO of FJ Sciame Construction Company, the new UC/AC will be the largest building on campus and has an estimated cost of over $70 million, and is currently being built on time and on budget.
The building design is inspired by Ellis Island, said Pellow, and will feature amenities for students whether they are there for academic s or social events.
According to Sciame, the new UC/AC will have a fireplace with ample seating area, a café, and state-of-the-art classrooms with the latest technology.
The UC/AC has been 10 years in the making and is one of the final steps in the University’s “master plan” of construction. “It marks a decade of incredible transition and growth for St. John’s,” said Rev. Harrington.
The University began the first phase of construction in 1999 with the construction its first dormitory, and has continued with the completion of the townhouses earlier this semester.
Sophomore Harpreet Kaur thinks the UC/AC will be a great addition to campus.
“It’s going to add to the college life, but right now it’s distracting,” he said.
“We tried to design it and construct so there is something for everyone, if students are looking for an enhanced academic facility or a place to gather with their fellow students that will be there as well”, Rev. Harrington said.
The ceremony concluded with the rising and placing of the final beam with a small tree tied to its surface, a tradition in construction with roots in ancient times, symbolizing luck and growth.