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School of Visual and Performing Arts Topping Off Ceremony

On Friday, September 7, 2012, Western Connecticut State University alumni, faculty, staff, friends, students and contractors, including employees of Dimeo Construction, the company tasked with building the new facility, stood back to watch the placement of the final steel beam in the School of Visual and Performing Arts (SVPA) Instructional Center on the Westside campus at a Topping Off ceremony.

When completed in 2014, the SVPA building will bring together the art, theater and music departments for a stronger discipline and promotion of the performing and visual arts. The new 130,000-square-foot building will house a 350-seat theater, a 350-seat concert hall, recording studio, art gallery, classrooms and studio art facilities.

“It was a phenomenal moment for us all. I particularly enjoyed seeing SVPA alumni at the event. They are important to the present and future of our school,” Dr. Daniel Goble, the dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Western, said. “We are hoping that the SVPA can establish a center for artistic exploration and intellectual development for Western.”

Topping off ceremonies are similar to time capsules that are placed under the cornerstone of a new building. In a nostalgic effort, the celebration joins contractors and other interested parties with those who will use the building when it is completed. Kerri Zavistoski of Dimeo Construction stated, “It was a joyful, happy moment. A few were actually left speechless as the beam was hoisted into place and the WCSU Spirit Band played ‘America the Beautiful.’ The white beam was marked with a flag, and then all those who were present got the chance to sign the beam before it went up. We had a couple hundred signatures!”

This building comes with mixed emotions from a number of the seniors at the university. Since many will be moving on after this year, they will only have memories of the building’s skeleton and the initial construction taking place behind the Westside Campus Center. Still, they remain excited knowing that their fellow classmates and faculty will soon have the opportunity to work and play in such an incredible building.

Lunch was provided for attendees in the Westside Ballroom. Dr. Goble, who served as master of ceremonies for the event, described the video of the spaces inside the new building to the crowded room, which included Dimeo construction employees. They were rapt as they viewed the animation. “It’s amazing for our employees to see what will be the fruits of our efforts come to life on the big screens,” exclaimed Ms. Zavistoski. “For many of them, this was an affirmation of their hard work, which is the goal of inviting them to such an event as a topping off ceremony. It builds morale.”

Dr. Goble summed up the emotions felt by alumni, students and friends at the ceremony by stating, “There is overwhelming anticipation for the new SVPA building that makes each and every day much more exciting as Western approaches the fall 2014 semester and the ribbon cutting for the new building.” See real-time construction in progress by clicking here.

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