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LIGHTNING PHOTOS: Health Sciences Center topped off

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Forty-five minutes before a ceremony to celebrate the “topping off” of the joint health education building and Pardee cancer center, the sun broke through a thick cloud cover.

For once, it wasn’t raining, though heavy rain is on the way.
“They say that rain on a wedding day is good look,” Kurt Wargo, the regional dean for Wingate University’s Hendersonville campus, told the crowd of about 75 people. “So what does it mean when a hurricane comes through on the topping off day?”
Whether more good luck is on the way remains to be seen but speakers all alluded to a rare confluence of political will and community commitment that brought the project this far.

Henderson County Commissioner Michael Edney, Blue Ridge Community College President Molly Parkhill, Hendersonville Mayor Barbara Volk and Pardee CEO Jay Kirby praised the unprecedented cooperation that produced a five-party agreement to construct the $30 million 100,000-square-foot building housing Pardee’s new Comprehensive Cancer Center and health science classes for Wingate University and Blue Ridge Community College.
The topping off, a construction tradition, marks a pivotal point in a building project.
“It means that the steel structure — we’re 98 percent done with the steel and the decking on the roof is about 90 percent done,” said Mike Faulks, construction superintendent for the contractor, Vannoy Construction. “We’re on schedule and on budget.”
Soon, passersby will begin to see the exterior take shape.
“You’re going to see the exterior skin go on,” Faulks said. “The roof’s going to start coming behind that. If the weather holds up, you’ll start to see brick going up.” The outside walls will also be made of metal panels and a glass curtain wall.
“It’s going be a very unique, good looking building,” he said.
The building now has an official name: the Health Sciences Center. It is scheduled to be open for classes and cancer treatment in the fall of 2016.