A group of Washington County workers including commissioner Gil Almquist gathered recently in mid-July to celebrate the new Washington County administration building with a topping out ceremony. The new building is located at the corner of Tabernacle and 100 East St.
A topping-out ceremony is the placement of the last steel beam in the highest point of the building. When this last steel beam is placed a small evergreen tree is placed at the highest point on the building. This tree signifies the structure’s safe completion and is accompanied by an American flag. Everybody in attendance at the ceremony was invited to write their name on the beam with a permanent marker. LaRene Cox wrote her name and stamped the beam with her husband, County commissioner Dean Cox’s stamp in memory of him as well as drew a red heart next to their names. It is a sweet moment to remember a man who gave so much to serve the Washington County community.
Commissioner Dean Cox passed away on July 7 , he was an instrumental part of bringing this project to reality in Washington County.
The origins of the traditional topping out ceremony are different depending on who you ask keeping them mysterious. Commissioner Gil Almquist made a speech at the ceremony stating that he hoped it would bring good luck to the remainder of the project in constructing the new administration building and for the building’s future purposes. This building will allow the county to consolidate employees and services into one building.
Commissioner Victor Iversen noted that the county has been saving for this project for somewhere between 10 and 20 years. This building is being built debt-free and without the use of any bonds. The economy of Washington County has been prosperous even throughout the pandemic shutdowns allowing the project to stay on course and on budget. The project did need to take some frugal measures such as a hiring freeze in the early months of the pandemic and holding off on large purchases in all departments, but the revenue of the county did not take any major hits allowing the project to continue to move forward.
This building is being noted as the biggest and most useful project the county has undergone to date. The old building was wearing out and this new building will help to streamline the county services into one office building.
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