The Christmas tree atop the final steel beam meant something different to Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant than to the construction workers gathered for the topping-out ceremony Dec. 11 for the new City Hall.
“Topping out” is the attaching of the last steel beam to the top of a structure. Tradition calls for an evergreen tree to be mounted on the top.
To construction workers the evergreen symbolizes permanence. But Hinnant said he sees the Christmas tree as a celebration of all the hard work that has been done to achieve this milestone.
Hinnant thanked David Murdock for donating the location at 401 Laureate Way, in the North Carolina Research Campus, affording easy access to the community.
He also praised the work of the architects, Creech and Associates, along with Rodgers Builders, for building the 106,000 square foot facility.
“As this steel will hold this building together, this building will bind our community as a group of people,” Hinnant said.
“This is the people’s house. It is built for you. It is your building, my building. It is the people’s building we are putting together here.”
The mayor said the city wanted to use the ideas of children in creating this building. So they asked third-, fourth- and fifth-graders in the Kannapolis City Schools and Cabarrus County Schools to create large panels of artwork depicting what the students thought would be going on at City Hall.
After a countdown by Hinnant, the students unveiled their artwork, which will be incorporated into the fence surrounding the construction site. The artwork will remain in place until the projected opening, expected in November 2015.
Some of the crowd had taken the opportunity to sign the beam, and everyone gathered to watch as the crane lifted the beam and tree to the top of the three-story frame, completing the topping-out ceremony.