Final Structural Beam Sparks Topping Out Ceremony at W.F. Regional Airport

- About 200 people met at Wichita Falls Regional Airport Monday morning to mark a special occasion.

Construction is about 40% complete on the airport's new 50,000 square foot terminal. So a Topping Out luncheon was held so those who attended could sign, then see the final structural beam of the terminal hoisted into place.

However, officials say delays from more than two weeks of winter weather made getting to this day difficult.

One by one dozens signed a white beam at Wichita Falls Regional Airport.

Construction started in September and was slowed by winter weather but supervisors say crews put in some serious overtime to get the schedule back on track.

"We worked some weekends trying to catch up.  Worked some Saturday and Sunday's both out here just trying to get caught back up out here from the weather," explains Dennis Wingo, supervisor for Trinity Construction.

Wingo says seven degrees was the coldest temperature crews worked through and he says construction came to a complete stop when ice and snow gripped the city. Construction is now back on schedule... So to celebrate... The city invited 200 people from the community to take part in a "topping out" ceremony.

"For them to get to see and take part in the Topping Out ceremony is something that's traditionally done for the workers, I think is something very special for them and the region," says Wichita Falls mayor, Glenn Barham.

After signing the final structural beam folks watched as a crane carefully maneuvered it into place.

"You're not gonna be able to see the signatures from the floor when they get the facility open.  It will be hidden by the ceiling but it's kind of neat for it to be there," Mayor Barham says.

Now that the final structural beam is in place, crews will start putting up the terminal walls and roof  before focusing on internal work in the building then construct the apron.

And crews expect to still have the new $25 million terminal completed and in use by Thanksgiving.

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