School of Data Science Beam Raising Ceremony

August 10, 2022
School of Data Science Beam Raising

Students, faculty, University leadership, architects, and construction workers came together on Tuesday, Aug. 2, for the School of Data Science’s topping out ceremony—a celebration of the placement of the final steel beam on the School’s future home. The custom amongst ironworkers calls for celebrating the completion of a building’s steel structure without accidents or fatalities. The event featured a 20-foot beam covered in signatures, an artificial tree, and both American and UVA flags. 

MSDS '23 Students pose in front of signed beam
MSDS '23 Students pose in front of signed beam

“It’s kind of a circle of life thing with the tree in those days. Even going back to ancient Egypt 2500 BC. The tree became popular in the United States in the 1920s,” said a Gilbane representative.

Participants used colorful markers to sign their names on the beam before it was hoisted, leaving messages, their names, and even drawings of their families. Students remarked how proud they were to be a part of this historic moment. 

“I think it's really important that we got to be part of this,” said Kate Meldrum, MSDS ’23. “We won't be here when the physical building is complete, so this is a way for us to be part of the process. We’re making our mark right here.” 

Before construction workers hoisted the final beam, Dean Phil Bourne gave opening remarks.

Inaugural Dean Phil Bourne signs beam
Inaugural Dean Phil Bourne signs beam 

“What we're trying to achieve is through a different lens, a lens of interdisciplinary, public-private partnership, cooperation, collaboration, all of which are emphasized in the design, and now the structure of the building,” he said. “Our mission as a school will only grow as construction continues. And so as the building continues to take shape, the philosophy of the school will be even more reflected.”

Students, faculty, University leadership, architects, and construction workers came together on Tuesday, Aug. 2, for the School of Data Science’s topping out ceremony
Students, faculty, University leadership, architects, and construction workers came together on Tuesday, Aug. 2, for the School of Data Science’s topping out ceremony

Gilbane, who is leading the building’s construction and is currently on schedule, will move the building into the next phase of construction. As for the future, students say as the School grows, the field of data science will too. 

“Data science is just beginning and it's so much it's gonna change in the future. It'll become such a bigger field than it is now,” said Tyler Valentine MSDS ’23

Be sure to watch the hoisting of the beam and follow the building’s evolution. 

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