Capping a milestone
Suwanee celebrates construction of City Hall

SUWANEE - A light afternoon shower didn't dampen the spirits of Suwanee's city leaders Friday, as they gathered to celebrate a milestone in the construction of the new City Hall building. The city hosted a topping ceremony, which commemorates the hoisting of the last steel beam before the next construction phase begins.

"This is a day we've all been waiting for, some longer than others," quipped mayor Dave Williams, who took office following the November 2007 elections. Former mayor Nick Masino, city council members and senior city staff set the wheels in motion two years ago. In fact, it was two years ago Friday that the process officially kicked off.

Architect Scott Gordon of BRPH Inc., said Friday that "exactly two years ago today we stood here and started this process," referring to the early planning for the city hall building. "We applaud the community leaders and citizens for having such a great vision."

The topping ceremony ended with the unfurling of a United States flag from a steel beam that holds signatures and well wishes from about 200 Suwanee residents, staff members and officials.

"This is an important milestone for us and kicks off the rest of the construction process. This building belongs to the citizens of Suwanee," Williams said.

The grand opening of the new "green" city hall building will be later this year or early in 2009. The glass-fronted structure, capped by a grand arch, will be a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building. There is currently only one other such building in Gwinnett County, the award-winning Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center in Buford. The LEED system is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.