Topping out of Shriners for Children Medical Center in Pasadena

by Fabian Kremkus

I visited the site of Shriners for Children Medical Center prior to the topping out ceremony to get a first look and sign the beam that was hoisted into place on Thursday, January 28, 2016, during the ceremony. I was early since I knew I wouldn’t be at the ceremony, so I wanted to see the progress and reconnect with our client. (Eyal Perchik was at the ceremony, and took the photos and video of the beam.)

South Elevation - 805 tons of steel erected and 7500 cubic yards of concrete placed to date

South Elevation – 805 tons of steel erected and 7500 cubic yards of concrete placed to date

A funny thing happened when I was approaching the gleaming steel frame. I wasn’t just surprised by the typical emotions one would have seeing the manifestation of one’s design: “This is really happening!” “Wow, it went up quickly.” “How great is it to see that it’s real after years of testing, and development of many options?”

I was also drawn to a yellow behemoth of a crane that had a span that could reach hundreds of feet and able to place the 30,000-lb beam into the most distant corner of the frame. The crane signified the welders steelworkers of Schuff Steel and construction experts of DPR, who played the other crucial role in the carefully orchestrated act of placing 805 tons of steel and metal decking into place to make up the structural skeleton of the not-so-distant future of Shriners for Children Medical Center.

Shriners - Liebherr Crane

Liebherr Crane, maximum lifting capacity 660,000 lbs, main boom 393 feet

I find that the pure act of creation is my passion and provides me with deep satisfaction, but there is also the building process, and experiencing the great forces involved,the human ingenuity, and sheer acts of daring that have a magnetic fascination that returns every time I visit a construction site. I’m transported back in time to when I was a little boy running around the yard with a hammer,  looking for a peephole in any fence around a construction site.

Congratulations to all of the people that have made this possible and have been part of this incredible endeavor.  

Shriners - Beam prior to lifting

Topping Out Beam – 250 happy people attended this great milestone ceremony

The actual event was attended by 250 people, including the Mayor of the City of Pasadena Terry Tornek, extolling the pride of the community in the wonderful cause the Shriners for Children Medical Center exemplifies. The highlight of the event was hearing the Shriners Chris L. Smith, Deputy Imperial Potentate, talk about the 13-year history of the project and how much it means to finally see it coming true, along with the partnership with Huntington Memorial Hospital in close proximity.

Shriners - Chris Smith + David Doan

Chris L. Smith during his moving speech

Shriners Board and the Mayor

Left to right: Ed Stolze, Dale Strauss, Larry Adamson, Mayor Terry Tornek, David Doan, Chris L. Smith

The tree is a tradition that goes back to the raising and building of barns or large structures that used to place large beams as part of the roof structures, at that time always made out of wood. A live tree, especially of evergreen type, always gets planted on the same site of the building and lives with the building’s lifespan.


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