Signing a beam

Dean of science Chris Houser (left) leads a line of University faculty, students, and officials to autograph the final steel beam before it was added to the top of the science research and innovation building under construction west of Essex Hall.

The University of Windsor marked a key milestone in the construction of its new science research and innovation building Wednesday, as the final beam was placed on top of the structure’s frame during a “topping off” ceremony.

President Alan Wildeman was joined by team members from Amico Design Build, the building contractor, to sign the beam before hoisting it into position — a tradition traced to the ancient Scandinavian custom of placing a tree on top of a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits displaced in its construction. In today’s steel trade, it signifies that construction has reached the sky safely and bodes well for the future inhabitants of the building.

“This new structure will be a place of innovation in the areas of human health, medical physics, nano-technology, and biometrics — all benefiting society,” said Dr. Wildeman.

Each of the building’s three floors will be an open-concept lab devoted to the following areas of research:

  • Advanced materials, including nano-technology and biometrics;
  • Transitional health, bring discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside with particular emphasis on cancer;
  • Medical physics, including medical imagining and diagnostic technologies.

The space is designed to be adaptable as usage needs change, and is intended to foster a collaborative research environment for faculty and students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

The 46,000 square foot project — an addition to Essex Hall — was announced in January of this year during an event with Navdeep Bains (MBA 2001), federal minister of innovation, science and economic development.