Supporters Attend "Topping Out Ceremony" at the UTPB CEED Building

Staff Report
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - UTPB is raising the roof, literally. Construction crews were set to place the highest point on the new Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center, and it happened with a big celebration.

Dozens of supporters were on hand for what's known as the "Topping Out Ceremony."

The event involved the biggest piece of the building's puzzle and it capped off nine months of construction.

The steel beam weighs in at 17 tons,  it's 47 feet long and 38 inches wide.

Permian Basin and State Dignitaries were on hand, including Representatives of the University of Texas System in Austin. 

Everyone was also encouraged to sign a piece of history.

The highlight of the ceremony was supposed to be, a crane lifting the beam up onto it's final resting place, the roof of the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center.

Even though that was postponed due to technical difficulties, officials say the significance of the ceremony itself and the actual construction of the building is what counts.

The part of the structure that can be seen from Highway 191 and FM 1778 is the frame for the main audience center and the fly tower for the stage.  Areas still to be framed include the lobby, back of the house, and the 10,500 square foot, academic wing.

Construction is expected to be completed by fall of 2011 with a grand opening of the Performing Arts Center being planned for early 2012.