As the last three beams of a new student union at the College of Southern Nevada’s North Las Vegas campus were hoisted into place Tuesday, a chant of “Raise the beam” broke out.
The ceremonial “topping off” event marked a major milestone for the $80 million project to build student unions at CSN’s three campuses by fall 2019.
“We decided we couldn’t wait until the grand opening to celebrate,” said Sherri Payne, CSN’s senior associate vice president of facilities management.
Traditionally, the final steel beam of a construction project is painted white and adorned with signatures before being lifted into place. But there were so many people who wanted to sign the final CSN beam, three beams were lifted into place.
The project is being funded by students through registration fees and was driven by students from day one, said CSN President Federico Zaragoza. The facility is intended to be a “one-stop student environment,” with resources to help students stay on track, graduate on time, transfer to another university and join the workforce.
“That’s what this facility is going to do,” he said.
The North Las Vegas campus was the first to reach the steel beam milestone; the other campuses needed more groundwork before construction could begin. But Zaragoza reported that all three projects are on time, on budget and slated to be ready for the 2019-20 school year.
CSN students began advocating for a student union at least six years ago, said current student body President Andrew Sierra, an 18-year-old Las Vegas resident. On Tuesday, he said he was at a loss for words seeing what was in front of him.
Construction on Campus Drive at the North Las Vegas campus also will move a bus stop. A new sign will be constructed by the end of December, and when students leave in the spring, the building will likely look like it’s done from outside, said Zachary Crane, vice president of Whiting-Turner, the contracting company working on the project.
“There’ll be a lot going on inside” before the building is ready for its grand opening, he said.