Making a Mark on Westlake

Starting today, interested students, faculty and staff will be able to participate in a special opportunity to sign one of Westlake Hall’s steel beams before construction is completed.

The beam will be available to sign today from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 8 a.m. to noon on Monday.

Following the signing of the beam on Monday, there will be a Topping Out Ceremony, which will celebrate the placement of the last beam on Westlake. The ceremony will also commemorate a milestone for the $22 million expansion and renovation of Westlake Hall.

“Topping out ceremonies date back to ancient times and were intended to appease the tree-dwelling spirits,” Senior Director of Public Relations Kath Conver said. “In modern times such ceremonies commemorate an important construction achievement.”

The ceremony will take place at 12:30 p.m. on Glenwood Avenue in front of the Markin Center.

Westlake was completed in 1987 and will keep its original classic architectural features while expanding to 85,000 square feet of academic space.

Conver said Westlake Hall was originally named Horology Hall.

“The building was the only one in the United States that was erected solely for use as a horological school, a department of what then was Bradley Polytechnic Institute,” she said. “The building was renamed in 1946 to honor Allen T. Westlake, who served as dean of horology. In 1961, Westlake Hall became the home for the College of Education.”

The construction of Westlake began last summer and is expected to be completed summer of 2012.