Alexandria, VA – On April 26, Gibane Construction Inc., led by a team of women, took part in the “Topping-Out” ceremony of the new Minnie Howard Campus. For nearly a year, construction has taken place on the site of the old Minnie Howard Sports field. Four years ago, the Alexandria School Board voted on whether the city needed an entirely new high school or an expansion to existing campus buildings. The expansion option won the majority vote. Since then, significant progress has been made on this grand project.
“It is an incredibly exciting day that makes this a special job for Gilbane, the all-women team with the city, and our all-women field team led by Rose Palesina,” said Clare Archer, VP of Gilbane MidAtlantic. “This will be a 21st-century state-of-the-art net-zero building. This is a special asset for the city and we are lucky to be a part of it,”
The “Topping-Out” ceremony is a common tradition that marks the placement of the final beam of the structure, and the completion of the building’s entire frame. This means their planned expansion is well underway
Acting Superintendent Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt began the ceremony by thanking the Department of Facilities and Operations Office of Capital Programs, Planning and Design for its work. She praised the department’s planning and management skills, both of which contributed to the structure’s progress.
“I am so excited about the new Minnie Howard Campus and the unique and innovative experience it will provide to our students,” she said.
School Board Chair Meagan Alderton spoke of her own pride in the project.
What started as a capacity project turned into an opportunity to reimagine the high school experience for Alexandria’s students,” she told attendees, “I am so grateful to my colleagues on the School Board for continuing to prioritize the High School Project and our colleagues on Council for funding this project and being partners from its inception.”
Alderton then introduced Mayor Justin Wilson, who expressed his hope for the future of the campus.
Following tradition, all present elected officials and attendees were invited to sign the beam before it was placed at the top of the structure.
This building’s purpose is to provide more space for students. Minnie Howard serves as what can be called a “transitional building.” Ninth graders take the majority of classes there to adapt to the high school setting. In tenth, they move to Alexandria City High School’s King Street Campus.
Project completion is expected in time for the 2024-2025 school year.