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Posted on: February 18, 2020

Topping Out Ceremony to Mark Milestone in Construction of New Arts and Education Center

PerkinsonArtsCenterTopping - BeamInPlace - 2.18.20


February 18, 2020

Chesterfield County, VA – Today, Chesterfield County and the Chesterfield Cultural Arts Foundation (CCAF) celebrated the next milestone in the construction of the Baxter Perkinson Center for the Arts and Education at the Topping Out of the Steel Ceremony, which occurred at 2 p.m. in Chester Village Green. The Perkinson Center is being constructed adjacent to the Chester Library, located at 11800 Centre Street, Chester, VA 23831.

Topping Out is a time-honored tradition when a final beam is placed atop a structure,

signaling the completion of the building’s framework. According to Susan Maddox, project manager for the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, which is constructing the Perkinson Center, Topping Out has roots in the construction industry that go back thousands of years to, at least, ancient Rome. “Different ironworkers will tell you different origin stories, but all agree that Topping Out celebrations are an important custom in the construction industry for any high-rising structure,” Maddox said.

As part of the ceremony, students from Thomas Dale High School signed the names of all 62 Chesterfield County public schools on the beam. Accompanied by her vocal teacher Stephen Rudlin, Carrie Brockwell, a student at Matoaca Middle School, sang as the beam was lifted by crane from the Village Green and placed on the structure. Following the ceremony, Friends of the Chesterfield County Public Library, a community-based non-profit supporting the Chesterfield County Public Library, hosted a reception inside the Chester Library.

“All of us with the Perkinson Center were thrilled to share this opportunity to celebrate together as a community,” Bruce Miller, executive director of the Perkinson Center, said in advance of the ceremony.

Opening in November 2020, the Perkinson Center will offer a professional children’s theatre in the Jimmy Dean Theatre, a touring educational theatre, performing and visual arts camps and classes and the Baxter and Elaine Perkinson Gallery, a visual arts resource center showcasing the finest work of local and national artists at all levels of experience.

“Education will be at the very heart of what we offer,” Miller continued. “By enriching, supporting and adding to the already-excellent programs available in Chesterfield County Public Schools, we will be enhancing arts education county-wide for all ages.”

For more information about the Baxter Perkinson Center for the Art and Education, please contact

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