Final beam “tops off”

by Amanda Guerrero

Antonio Zaragoza, Editor in Chief

A crowd of students, staff, community members and construction workers cheered as the final beam of the San Diego State Aztec Student Union was lowered into place at approximately 11:40 a.m. on Oct. 18 during the building’s “topping off” ceremony. The beam, covered in signatures from Associated Students Council members, also carried an American flag and a tree, symbolizing the message “life goes on.”

A.S. President Rob O’Keefe noted the rapid progress of the vertical construction after transitioning from the underground and foundational stages at the end of the summer.

“Just a few months ago, two months ago in fact, it was dirt and mostly concrete that was in the area behind us,” O’Keefe said, gesturing toward the building.

The Aztec Student Union, approved to replace the former Aztec Center in 2010, is on track to open in Fall 2013. Sundt Construction Inc. project manager Jamie Frye said the new building will include crushed concrete from the remains of Aztec Center.

“If you ask me, the Aztec Center is living a more fruitful life now and in the future than it ever would have otherwise,” Frye said, as the audience clapped in agreement.

SDSU communication and political science senior Marc Marconi watched in excitement as he waited for the beam. Marconi said he is especially interested in using the Commuter Center that will be part of the new building.

“I never really used the old (Aztec Center) very much and to be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of it, so I’m excited to see what this building will look like,” Marconi said.

The Aztec Student Union, which will be about twice the size of its predecessor, will be the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design platinum- certified student union in the California State University system.

SDSU President Elliot Hirshman commended the student body, especially the A.S. councilmembers, for promoting the project.

“This is going to be like the living room for the entire campus,” Hirshman said, referring to part of O’Keefe’s opening speech. “It’s going to be the center of student life for decades and generations to come.”