Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) faculty, staff and students
celebrated a Topping – Out Ceremony as the last beam for the Lubbock construction
projects was placed atop the Academic Event Center Dec. 14.
Texas Tech University System Chancellor and TTUHSC President Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D., said the Topping – Out Ceremony is a historic part of the construction process which signifies the project has reached its highest point.
“Some say the topping-out dates back to the Viking chieftains who placed evergreen trees on top of their mead halls to signify completion,” Mitchell said. “Other accounts say Scandinavians were topping their completed structures with a fir tree to signal to the community it was time for the celebration to start. Still others attribute the tradition to the Native Americans who believed that no structure should be taller than a tree. Despite the varying historical accounts, they share a commonality: when a construction project gets to this point, it’s time to celebrate because the end is in sight.”
Mitchell said the topping-out ceremony was a remarkable moment in TTUHSC history as the university prepares to celebrate their 50th anniversary next year.
The $99.375 million project consisted of three parts: a north expansion that will create two new buildings north of the existing TTUHSC building, a west expansion that will add additional facilities to the existing TTUHSC building and the creation of a boulevard entrance to campus for accessibility.
“The topping-out ceremony is a celebration with ancient roots recognizing the installation
of the last structural member for the project and the achievements of our construction
teams and personnel who have performed the actual work,” said Texas Tech University
System Vice Chancellor for Facilities, Planning & Construction Billy Breedlove. “This
is a great celebration for Dr. Mitchell and the entire TTUHSC community. We still
have lots of work to do but look forward to a finished product and how it can enhance
and support the TTUHSC vision.”
The West Expansion will supplement the existing TTUHSC building with an additional 122,800 gross square feet (GSF) by connecting the west side of the existing TTUHSC building to the Preston Smith Library of the Health Sciences. The space will provide educational and research facilities for anatomical sciences and will include an expansive, state-of-the-art gross anatomy laboratory.
The north expansion will include two buildings to increase productivity in academic, professional and research affairs. The University Center building will have 62,200 GSF to support institutional initiatives, program growth and academic changes. The building will house state-of-the-art research laboratories, translational research facilities classrooms, offices, new technology and equipment and other infrastructure upgrades.
The second building, the Academic Event Center, will be a free-standing conference center with 12,250 GSF, which will provide daily, on-site conferencing space for the adjacent University Center building and the existing Academic Classroom Building.
To provide for growth of the medical academic campus, the project will install a new boulevard entrance to the campus at Fourth Street by creating a signalized intersection.
In addition to new structures, the overall project will include replacement parking and upgrades to the infrastructure in support of the new buildings and street access. The combination of the additions will provide accessibility and connectivity while promoting the use of facilities by the entire campus community.
The Texas Tech University System Board of Regents Facilities Committee approved the project Oct. 13, 2017. Tuition Revenue Bond approved by the 84th Legislature funds covers all construction costs.