Fort Worth Medical School Celebrates ‘Topping Out’ of New Medical Education Building

The New Home for Anne Burnett Marion School of Medicine at Texas Christian University Is Slated For Completion in Summer 2024.

By Prescotte Stokes III

Photo Credit: Burnett School of Medicine at TCU/Juan Cabrera and Nicole Wright

FORT WORTH – Construction of the new medical education building for the Anne Burnett Marion School of Medicine at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth’s Near Southside reached a key milestone with the building’s frame and roof now in place.

More than 200 donors, key stakeholders, faculty, staff and students at the Burnett School of Medicine at TCU, construction crew members from Linbeck, designers from CO Architects and Hoefer Welker gathered in Fort Worth’s medical district for a “Topping Out” celebration.

“We could not do this without donors, trustees, civic and community leaders and our world class faculty, students and staff. TCU is an institution of innovation and in many ways our innovation is going to run right through the Burnett School of Medicine,” TCU President Daniel W. Pullin said at the celebration. “It really changes the face of TCU by squarely positioning ourself in this part of the community. It will allow us to connect and collaborate. We definitely want to be a strong community partner in this way and at every turn. It’s a way for our students to reach out and serve and really shape the future.”

When the new 100,000-square-foot medical education building opens in the Summer of 2024, it will the home for 240 medical students, hundreds of staff and faculty and an innovational simulation and technology space. It will also be the first educational building located outside of TCU’s main campus.

A “Topping Out” celebration is generally held when construction crews reach the highest level of a building.

“The ceremony is a long-standing tradition for the construction team to commemorate the completion of a building’s structure, specifically the placement of the final steel beam,” said Todd Waldvogel, P.E., Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities & Campus Planning at TCU.

Those in attendance were able to sign two of the final steel beams that were hoisted into the air and placed on top of the building.

The beams will be visible in the northwest corner of the building in the stair tower. The beams are uniquely designed from other supporting beams because they are white with the Burnett School of Medicine at TCU logo at the center. Once the building is completed anyone walking up the stair tower will be able to look up and see the beams.

“This is unusual, and special, as it signifies the importance of what will go on here,” Waldvogel said.

Another significant memento at the celebration was a pine tree , which was placed on the roof of the building and will be visible from miles away.

The pine tree is a symbol  that dates back to  8th century Scandinavia, according to Brooke Reusch, Director of Project Management at TCU.

“It started out as a new pine tree being placed at a construction project and when the pine needles started falling off the tree construction crews knew it was time to be able to close the building because the timber inside was secured and dried out,” Ruesch said.

For many at the event it was their first time to be inside of the space and get a feel for the size of the building.

“It’s a rare opportunity for it to be safe enough and clean enough to have this kind of event,” Reusch said. “It will be really cool for the students to be able to sit in the Learning Studio at this point and see it as this open structure.”

Lauren Hui, MS-1 at Burnett School of Medicine, served as the host for the celebration. She was amazed by the size of the Learning Studio, where the celebration was held.

“Knowing that we will get the opportunity to learn and study in a building that has been designed with us in mind is pretty incredible,” Hui said. “This is where future physicians will learn what it truly means to be an Empathetic Scholar® and a compassionate physician.”