Since the concrete footers were placed in a couple of years ago, the new high school for Westmoreland County’s students has gone up and up and up, with beam after beam and brick after brick getting plunked into place. With the last beam put in place, an old time-honored tradition among builders took place: Topping out. A tradition that goes all the way back to Norway, it has gone from a rite meant to appease displaced tree-dwelling spirits to something more akin to a media event, not unlike a ground breaking.

In the case of Westmoreland County’s new high school, a number of people from the School Board, Branch Builds, and more were present. Dr. Perry spoke of it at last week’s meeting of the Westmoreland County School Board.

“It was just a fantastic event, and I’ll leave it at that” Dr. Perry stated, “Otherwise, Mr. Fallin might be tempted to kick me.”

“I might!” the Chairman quipped in response.

At many of these ceremonies, it’s not uncommon for food and drinks to be given, and this one was no exception.

“The food was just incredible,” the Superintendent continued, “We got taken on an incredible tour. We got shown a lot, and learned a lot.” Dr. Perry continued showing pictures of the event as he made his presentation. Also present at the Topping Out were Kathy Underwood and Todd Demetriou, the President and the Principal on Site respectively.

In other school buildings through the county, the interiors and exteriors of Cople and Washington District Elementary were repainted, and Washington District’s landscaping was also done over. Montross Middle School got the same treatment, and all of the schools, Washington & Lee included, now have bottle fill stations replacing water fountains. A mound in the middle school was also removed, leaving it with a gorgeous lawn. The parking lot at the bus garage was also redone, as the busses were actually starting to sink.

The contingency fund, meanwhile, has remained largely unchanged as of the meeting that took place on Monday last week, clocking in at $476,518 and change. This will prove vital when figuring out what other features are to be added in, particularly in the athletic field. Another expense that has yet to be properly explained to the public is what will be used to fund new sports equipment, uniforms, stationary, logo and sign design, and merchandise such as sweaters, jackets, and notebooks, since the new high school is not carrying the Washington & Lee name over.

The one burning question in everyone’s mind, however, is likely “when is this whole thing going to be done?” Initially slated to have its substantial completion date set for February of next year, the date has shifted by a month, to March 8. Of the 874 total construction days, 22 were lost due to weather, and a total of 644 have been used so far.