An iron worker installs the final steel beam in the new Lea Hill Elementary School. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing

An iron worker installs the final steel beam in the new Lea Hill Elementary School. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing

Final beam installed on Lea Hill Elementary in Auburn

The school is set to open in the fall of 2022.

Steel workers installed the final steel beam on the new Lea Hill Elementary School during a “topping out” ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 14.

Topping out is a builder’s rite when the last beam of a structure is installed signifying the finishing of the structure. Auburn School District staff and board members gathered at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday to sign the beam and watch it be installed by ironworkers.

Construction of the new school began in June, 2021, now that the structure is complete, the rest of the construction can begin.

The school will have a capacity of 650 students and will open in the fall of 2022, said Vicki Alonzo, executive director of communications for the Auburn School District. The 74,000 square foot building will feature 32 general education classrooms and six specialty classrooms, according to the district.

The project is expected to cost a total of $42.3 million, Alonzo said. The school district’s standard for replacing a building is when the cost to renovate exceeds 70% of the cost to replace, Alonzo said. The old Lea Hill building was constructed in 1965 and met this standard, Alonzo said.

Lea Hill is one of the six schools in the district that were chosen to be replaced by a citizens committee in 2015, according to the district.

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