Student Health Services celebrates topping out ceremony for new health center

The final steel beam was placed atop the new health center on Monday, Sept. 19, and staff celebrated with university administrators, the architects, construction crew and building staff.    

Luna Signature 1
Dr. Gene Luna, USC associate vice president for housing and student development
Pruitt Signature
Dr. Dennis Pruitt, vice president for Student Affairs & Academic Support, vice provost and dean of students

Dr. Harris Pastides, USC president

Here are some comments from Dr. Deborah Beck, executive director of Student Health Services about the topping out ceremony and the new health center’s progress so far

I am so very excited for our students that the reality is coming true and our new student health building has risen to its highest physical point of the university’s skyline. The tree symbolizes the completion of the steel structure but also symbolizes the continued growth of our services for students, faculty and staff and our vision of a Healthy Carolina.   


Dr. Deborah Beck, executive director for Student Health Services, with President Harris Pastides,
and Pat Rodgers, president and CEO of Rodgers Builders, Inc.

When I started at the university over 10 years ago, one of the most important things that attracted me to USC was the vision of a new student health center, not the structure itself (although magnificent) but that the “structure” would provide the venue for holistic student-centered health care. The activities in this building combined with the services in the Thomson building will provide high quality health care that is accessible, affordable and will greatly enhance student success.  

Granted there were times I thought the project was not going to happen during my career, but we had a core group of forward-thinking leaders like President Harris Pastides, Dr. Dennis Pruitt, vice president for Student Affairs & Academic Support, vice provost and dean of students, and Dr. Gene Luna, associate vice president for housing and student development. Without them, we would not be here today celebrating the completion of this critically important phase of the dream we had over 10 years ago. Thank you, President Pastides, Dr. Pruitt and Dr. Luna. As we top out the new student health center with a tree, it will demonstrate the hope and belief that the building will be everlasting and flourish as “Healthy Carolina.” It will also illustrate our commitment to outstanding patient-centered health care.

The topping out ceremony honors the accomplishments of the construction crews. I want to thank the collection of workers for all the skills you have brought to this project. The accomplishments you have achieved in the last few months has been ABSOLUTELY amazing. This special group of employees led by Rodgers Builders, Inc., bring years of experience and dedication to their craft that have made this project move forward with deliberate and steady speed. You have braved Columbia’s Famously (especially) Hot weather as you completed site work, encountered numerous surprises under the soil, prepared the foundation, erected steel, poured concrete and many, many other difficult tasks. Thank you, “crew, for all your dedicated and hard work.  Thank you, Rodgers, for your leadership and progress to make July 2017 a reality.

Beam Placement

The final steel beam is raised to the top of the building

I also want to thank the architects, Quackenbush and Perkins & Will, for their fantastic vision of a truly inspirational building that incorporates so many features that symbolize holistic care. Their vision and drive have been absolutely fundamental to the project. Thank you campus partners for your tireless efforts and oversight to make this project possible. And last but not least, thank you to all of the Student Health Services staff who have worked many years in tight quarters providing outstanding care to our students, faculty and staff. Thanks to all of you for providing your ideas and input into the design of the facility.

I can assure you that we will think of this day and that final piece of steel and what is symbolizes every day we occupy this building. The 10s of thousands of lives that will be positively impacted by the services we provide for decades to come may not understand or appreciate the effort you made to build this building; however, you can be assured that I and the campus community appreciate every thing you have done to construct this building. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

For more information about the new health center, click here.

Sir Big Spur celebrates with Student Health Services