‘Topping Off’ Ceremony celebrates milestone in Sumner High School expansion project

A round of applause erupted from a crowd outside of Sumner High School on Monday as the last steel beam was placed for the school’s modernization and expansion project.  

The 30-foot-long beam was signed by hundreds of Sumner High School students and staff as part of a “Topping Off '' Ceremony, which typically represents the first introduction of a building to the public. It’s the first ceremony of its kind at SBLSD.

“Speaking of the students, this is for them. This shows that we’re investing in them,” said Matt Guilanians, Hainline & Associates project manager contracted by the District.

The new building will feature a new commons, library, kitchen/cafeteria and additional classrooms. We thank our voters for making this possible with the passage of the 2016 capital construction bond. 

Construction started on the new building in September, with an expected completion date of early 2023. 

In a “Topping Off” ceremony, the placement of the final steel beam usually represents the first introduction of a building to the public and celebrates the accomplishments of the construction crew. The beam is often adorned with an Evergreen tree and an American flag for good luck.

Sumner High School science teacher Skip Ashley signed the beam last week. He was also a member of the SHS Project Review Task Force, made up of community members to help review the project.

“One of the main reasons the bond was passed was to get new science rooms. One of those is going to be my classroom,” he said, gesturing to the building. 

Kevin Lewis, a member of the school board, said the community was key in getting the project to where it is today.

“I think it’s a testament to the District really coming together, bringing the community in,” Lewis said.

Students shared their excitement about the new building as they signed the final beam last week.

“I’m just really excited to see the new building,” said Jillian Orm, SHS sophomore.

“I think it’s going to be pretty sweet,” added SHS sophomore Gavin Washington.

Alexus Morfin and Evelyn Nino are both juniors at SHS and are graduating at the end of 2023. They said they were happy to leave their legacy by signing the beam and paving the way for a new generation to be able to benefit from the building.

“I’m kind of jealous because my little brother will get to go in there,” Nino said.