EASTON — Superintendent Lisha Cabral and School Planning Committee Chair Jane Martin are pleased to announce that the traditional topping off ceremony was held at the site of the new Blanche A. Ames Elementary School on Monday, Aug. 30.
A topping off ceremony is a long-standing tradition in building construction during which the last beam is placed onto the structure. This signifies that the building has reach its tallest point and is a testament to the workers who have been part of the structure’s completion. Vinyl banners were available in various locations in Easton during the week prior to the ceremony, and the beam placed atop the structure will hold the signatures of the pre-K-2 parents, staff and supporters of the school.
“It seems like we were just here for the groundbreaking, and in the blink of an eye, we can see all of this great progress that’s happened behind us,” Chair Martin said. “I really appreciate the work of the project team and all of the contractors who are on this site and who have so carefully paid attention to what needed to happen to make this process go smoothly — whether it’s been working with our municipal departments and boards, or working with the neighbors of this project and making sure they are being treated respectfully and thoughtfully every step along the way.”
A brief history of the topping off ceremony, explained by Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Deputy Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director Jack McCarthy noted that the tradition began in Scandinavia centuries ago. Though there have historically been different customs in different parts of the world, one custom was for workers to put up a timber beam with a tree attached as a way to appease the spirits of the forest after the environmental disruption caused by a new building. In modern times, workers attach a tree and an American flag to the beam before it is raised.
Several guests were also in attendance and were thanked for their support of the project, including the Easton School Committee, representatives from the MSBA, local senators and representatives, and members of town boards and committees.
Speakers also recognized the significance of the new building for Easton’s future and the impact it will have on the community and the students who begin their education at Blanche A. Ames Elementary School.
“My children went through the Easton Schools in the blink of an eye. When you have little kids you think it’s going to take forever and all of a sudden they’ve graduated high school, and I’m thinking in about 13 years, the kids who start in this school are going to be graduating,” Easton Select Board Chair Dottie Fulginiti said. “I can’t wait to see what they become, what kind of fields they’re going to go into, how the economic perspective is going to change based on what they do for work — and they’re all going to get their start here. So, thank you to everyone in this community that invested in the future for our children and our future workforce.”
Added Sam Cederbaum, who will serve as the school’s principal, “To look out everyday from my office and to see the change is unbelievable. I cannot wait for the students who left in June to come back and see the progress from when they left. It will be amazing, just as it will be amazing when we open the doors for the first time.”
The project teams, including design company Perkins Eastman, project manager PMA Consultants, general contractor Brait Builders Corporation and workers from Iron Workers Local 7 were also recognized for their hard work and dedication.
“We are extremely proud of the progress we’ve made so far, and it’s in no small part due to the extraordinary efforts of our project teams. We very much look forward to welcoming everyone back for a ribbon cutting ceremony,” Superintendent Cabral said.
Construction on the new building is scheduled to be completed in October 2022 and students, faculty and staff are expected to be in the building at the beginning of 2023.