K-State Athletics Celebrates Vanier Complex Topping Out

Currently 90 days into construction on the Vanier Football Complex, K-State Athletics and Mortenson/GE Johnson Construction came together to celebrate a monumental moment. 
"Today we're setting our topping out beam. It signifies the end of the structural steel being erected and it signifies the building topping out," explained Justin Horsch the Senior Superintendent of Mortenson/GE Johnson Construction and a 2000 graduate of K-State. "After today, we're able to do the interior and the outside finishes."
A crowd of K-State Athletics staff, special guests, coaches and Mortenson/GE Johnson workers gathered at the construction site of the new Vanier Football Complex and celebrated the Topping Out ceremony in the traditional fashion - signing the highest steel beam.
K-State's head coach Bill Snyder signs his name to a beam during a topping out ceremony for the Vanier Football Complex at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas on March 26, 2015. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
"It's always been tradition, once you top it out you paint the beam, and since we're all K-Staters here we painted it purple," laughed Horsch as he pointed to the purple beam just before it was lifted off the ground and set in place. "It's just kind of a historical thing. You sign the beam and your name is forever a part of this structure."
Horsch is no stranger to topping out ceremonies. He said that although he's been a part of quite a few during his career, it is special having the opportunity to work with his alma mater. Along with playing a lead role in the construction of the Vanier Football Complex, he was also the Senior Superintendent of the West Stadium Center project two years ago.
"I graduated from K-State, so I couldn't ask for a better place to come to and work for a few years," said Horsch. "They're all about the greater good for the project, this university and the whole state. It's nice to work with people who are all working for a common goal and all doing a little extra to make that happen."
Completely funded by the contributions of Ahearn Fund members from around the world, the Vanier Football Complex will bring the total of K-State Athletics facility construction over the past three years to $195 million. 
The new complex, attached to the north end of Bill Snyder Family Stadium, will not only benefit the Wildcat football program, but K-State student-athletes from all 16 sports with a new Academic Learning Center, a massive new Strength and Conditioning center and provide world-class resources that will only continue to better themselves both on the field and in the classroom. 
K-State's director of athletics John Currie speaks during a topping out ceremony for the Vanier Football Complex at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas on March 26, 2015. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
"One of the greatest things about walking up on the ramp onto the concourse level (of the Vanier Football Complex) is that you can look out to the south and see the Basketball Training Facility, to the east and see the Intercollegiate Rowing Center and the Mike Goss Tennis Stadium, then, to the west, there's the West Stadium Center," said K-State Athletics Director John Currie as he addressed the crowd. "It's a really terrific feeling to realize that this has all been completed since the fall of 2012, in three short years." 
The Vanier Football Complex continues a new era for K-State Athletics and, in approximately 131 days, it will become a special addition in solidifying K-State as a prominent force in the Big 12 Conference. 
"It's all coming along really well," said Horsch about the construction of the Vanier Football Complex. "We scheduled this Topping Out date almost 13 months ago in our original scheduling, so we're here on the exact day and that's exciting. We couldn't ask for the building to be going any better than it is."
Mortenson Construction workers attach the final beams during a topping out ceremony for the Vanier Football Complex at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas on March 26, 2015. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
With an exciting past and an even more exciting future, Currie closed his time speaking at yesterday's Topping Out ceremony in, perhaps, the perfect manner.
Before the final beam was put into place, he read this poem written by Edgar Albert Guest:
It Couldn't Be Done
By Edgar Albert Guest
Somebody said that it couldn't be done
      But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
      Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
      On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn't be done, and he did it!
Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
      At least no one ever has done it;"
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
      And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
      Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn't be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
      There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
      The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
      Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
      That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.
Mortenson Construction workers and K-State Athletics staff sign their names on a beam during a topping out ceremony for the Vanier Football Complex at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas on March 26, 2015. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
For more information about the Vanier Football Complex project and to check out the Master Plan, please click here