Communication Home

Workers “top off” new research facility

The Academic and Research Center under construction on Ohio University’s West Green reached a milestone recently. 

The same week that OU-COM’s
class of 2012 began their August anatomy immersion,constructions workers “topped off’ the new building, being built to enhance collaborative research and education between the medical college and the Russ College of Engineering and Technology.

“Topping off” a building is an old tradition among construction workers. When the topmost structural element of a multi-story building is in place, workers signify the occasion by placing a small evergreen tree or flag on top. The new ARC building has both. Often, construction workers sign the last steel beam before it is hoisted into place.

According to some traditions, the tree symbolize that construction so far has occurred without injury or death to the workers, while others say it provides good luck to the future inhabitants.

Scott L. Melnick wrote in the December, 2000, issue of Modern Steel Construction that the origin of the practice is uncertain but likely traces back thousands of years to either Scandinavians or Germans, who often built with the plentiful evergreen trees scattered throughout northern Europe. Some legends, Melnick said, even date the practice back to early Romans.

The ARC building, designed by Columbus-based engineering and architectural firm Burgess & Niple, cost $30 million and will feature 100,000 square feet of state-of-the-art integrated research space, designed to facilitate development of new diagnostics, therapeutics and treatment paradigms. The Osteopathic Heritage Foundations and Russ College alumnus Charles Stuckey and his wife, Marilyn, donated a combined $15 million towards the construction.

The space will host and enhance collaboration among individuals from the College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Russ College of Engineering and , the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Health and Human Services. In addition, scientists from university research centers, such as the Edison Biotechnology Institute and the Appalachian Rural Health Institute, will conduct cross-disciplinary, collaborative research within the new facility.

Construction is expected to be completed in late 2009 and open for academic use in early 2010.


  Office of Communication
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
210 Irvine Hall, Athens, Ohio 45701
Tel: 740-593-2346 FAX: 740-593-0343
Copyright Ohio University (Home)
Last updated: 01/28/2016