Pelham High Reaches into the Sky with Completion of the Steel Structure

January 2, 2015

by Doug Robinson

The final beam, painted white and signed by 2015 graduating seniors, school administrators and faculty, was hoisted into its destination, completing the structural phase of Pelham High School’s new addition.

The ceremony to raise the beam was referred to as “Tree Topping.”

“Topping out” is the term used by ironworkers to indicate that the final piece of steel is being hoisted into place on a building, bridge, or other large structure.  This signifies that a project, although not completed, has reached its maximum height.  To commemorate this first milestone the final piece of iron is usually lifted into place with a small evergreen tree (called a Christmas tree in the trade) and an American flag attached.  The piece is usually painted white and signed by the ironworkers and visiting dignitaries, according to John V. Robinson of the California Folklore Society.

The two-story, 42,000-square-foot addition took six weeks to complete, weighs approximately 200 tons and cost $610,000.  The steel beam construction was installed by 1983 Pelham High School graduate Steven Chasse of SL Chasse, Hudson.

“We have hit another milestone,” said school board member Deb Ryan.  “Our new addition will solve a lot of our space concerns at the high school as well as offer our teachers the ability to teach at a higher level.  We are fortunate to live in a community which has a placed a high value on education.  Also, I would like to add that we are on schedule and on budget too.”

The 29-classroom addition, at a cost of $22.6 million, is scheduled to be ready for students in the fall of 2015.