By Tim Reaves, Independent Tribune
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — The last of the steel beams is up at the site of the new Kannapolis city hall and police headquarters.
At a Thursday celebration, Kannapolis elected officials and city staff joined police officers and construction workers for a “topping off” ceremony and the unveiling of an art project created by Kannapolis City and Cabarrus County school children.
This “topping off” custom is an ancient tradition, explained Pat Rodgers, president and CEO of Rodger’s Builders.
Scandinavian builders of old, upon finishing a wood-frame structure, would place an evergreen tree at the highest point then wait for it to “cure out,” she said. Once the tree had cured, the builders knew the structure was ready.
“The symbology of that is it’s everlasting; it’s an evergreen,” added John Crawford, project manager for design team Creech & Associates.
Workers have put up more than 4,400 cubic yards of concrete and almost 1,000 tons of steel since the project began, Rodgers said.
Mayor Darrell Hinnant joined children from both school systems to unveil a Civic Education Art Wall on one of the borders of the construction site. The extensive mural featured colorful scenes reflecting the city’s values and what work the children imagine will take place in the new city hall.
“As this steel will hold this building together, this building will bind our community, as a group of people, as a part of a community,” Hinnant said. “So we’re so proud that it will represent that for us in the future. And I would be remiss if I did not say this is the people’s house.”
The new city hall and police headquarters is expected to open in November 2015. In addition to the Police Department the facility will house the Planning/Community Development, Customer Service, Finance, Administration, Human Resources, Technology, Fire Administration, Legal and Parks & Recreation Departments.
This will be the first time in the city’s history that all departments will be in one location. Since incorporating in 1984 the city has rented space for its departments and currently spends more than $275,000 annually on leases.