Hughes Stadium reached new heights Wednesday as workers added the most significant steel beam to the stadium after almost a year of remodeling.
Troy Denike, the project superintendent and a 1989 CSU graduate, delivered a speech explaining the significance and meaning of a topping out ceremony held at the stadium.
"Topping out is the signal that the upper-most or significant beam is going into place and that the structure has reached its height," Denike said.
The beam was added to the fifth level of the stadium's north end. Workers, contributors and the construction companies of the project signed the beam before it was fitted into place. It was hoisted with an evergreen tree and two flags atop – an American flag and a POW-MIA flag, which represents soldiers who have gone missing or taken prisoner while in combat.
Denike said for some the evergreen symbolizes that the job was completed without a loss of life, while for others it is a good luck charm for future occupants.
"Coach Lubick, this tree is for you," Denike said.
The flag sometimes signals a structure built with federal funds, but more than anything it represents patriotism and the American dream, Denike said.
"We sign(ed) the beam to show others that may follow that we have taken part in both," Denike said.
Denike also thanked the many workers who have contributed to the project.
"We look forward to additional successes on the project and would especially like to thank those of you who have worked so hard to bring us to this point, and to those of you who are dedicated to see the rest of the project through," Denike said.
Although the most significant piece has been added, Denike said there are still about four months of construction left to complete, including enclosing the envelope and interior finishing.
Jim Stoddard, the project manager for the Hughes Stadium Remodel Project, said the beam's addition symbolized the end of three remodeling phases for the stadium.
The third phase consisted of remodeling the stadium's west side, including the Ram's Horn and press area, Stoddard said. The other two phases were remodeling the practice field and the score board. He said the remodeling should be completely finished by September 1.
"We hope to beat the '05 season by three or four weeks," Stoddard said.
And when students return in the fall, Stoddard said they will see a much nicer facility that includes the addition of a newer scoreboard with instant replay.
"The west side remodel, however, will probably facilitate Ram's Horn members more than students," Stoddard said.
Doug Max, associate athletic director at CSU, said the remodeling will really bring university alumni and students together.
"It brings a whole new dimension to the stadium as far as a 21st century look," Max said.
Max said the stadium will similarly benefit athletics and athletes because of recruiting.
"Having a quality facility brings a sense of pride to the student body and encourages nonstudents to attend CSU," Max said.
The construction started last spring with the video board and scoreboard, but the Hughes Stadium Remodel Project officially started in early summer with the stands, Max said. The demolition started two days after the last football game in November.
"There was a dire need for upgrading the facility where people can do their jobs more efficiently," Max said.