Officials from the City, State and University of Nebraska-Lincoln today participated in a topping out ceremony, as the final steel beam was lifted into place for Pinnacle Bank Arena. The event also recognized the hundreds of construction workers who are building the arena and their excellent safety record. The arena construction team has achieved 180 days and more than 500,000 craft worker hours without a safety incident.
Speakers included Mayor Chris Beutler, Chairs of the West Haymarket Joint Public Agency (JPA); Governor Dave Heineman; City Council and JPA member Gene Carroll; NU Regent and JPA member Tim Clare; Bob Caldwell, President and CEO of Hampton Construction, which is teaming with Mortenson Construction to build the arena; Wendy Birdsall, Chamber of Commerce President; UNL Athletic Director Tom Osborne; and John Hinshaw, Senior Project Manager for Mortenson Construction. Also attending were representatives of Pinnacle Bank and the Dinsdale family; Shawn Eichorst, who will become UNL Athletic Director in January; Husker women's basketball coach Connie Yori; and Husker men's basketball coach Tim Miles.
The topping out ceremony is a custom in the construction industry, and the beam traditionally carries an evergreen tree and a flag as it is hoisted into place. "The tree symbolizes growth and brings good luck, and our beautiful American flag symbolizes a nation of people committed to hard work and freedom," Mayor Beutler said. "This redevelopment is about jobs and, even more importantly, it is about people. Today, we honor the people on the ground who truly are doing the heavy lifting. The arena workers have put so much pride and sweat equity into this project. We cannot thank them enough for the amazing job they are doing."
The ceremony today included performances by the UNL Cornhusker Pep Band, Herbie Husker and the Spirit Squad. Those attending had the opportunity to sign the beam, which was already signed by hundreds of members of the public at two events last week - the Husker men's basketball game with Creighton and the First Friday Art Walk in the Haymarket.