Chabot-Las Positas Project Tops Out

Peter Hempel

Swinerton Management & Consulting (SMC) helped celebrate the topping out milestone of our Las Positas College New Academic Support and Office Building project with the owner and contractor on February 9, 2022.

SMC is the Construction Manager for the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District on this $60 million Lease/Lease-Back project. “These new developments were funded by Measure A, a $950 million bond for the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District that was approved by voters in 2016, which allows the schools to upgrade technology and science labs and aging classrooms, retrofit buildings for improved safety and security, and acquire facilities and equipment.” According to a Pleasanton Weekly Article.  

The general contractor provided access to the last steel beam a week prior to the event so college staff, faculty, and students could sign it, as well as the construction team staff and crews. The beam was adorned with the traditional evergreen tree on one end and an American flag on the other, as well as the logos of Las Positas College, the project team, and Swinerton, with the two Swinerton workers in the logo pointing to the horizon. The beam was hoisted into place at the top of the three-story structure as an important milestone of the project, eight months after the notice to proceed was issued and right on schedule according to the approved baseline schedule.

The Vice President of Instruction for the college had earlier asked the team about the reason for the tradition of putting a Christmas tree on the topping out beam. When no one had a quick answer, she found some research links on the subject and shared them with us. Two leading contenders for the meaning are the Scandinavian custom of posting evergreen trees on top of their great hall ridge-pole as a sign of resilience and celebration, and the Native American belief that no human structure should be taller than a tree—so posting the tree is in respect to nature. Regardless of the exact interpretation for each attendee, the celebration was a success for the team, and another important step on our push for a successful project, slated for final completion in the summer of 2023.