Ed Murray, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY – Over the past two years, the Devon Tower has grown from a concrete slab to the city's tallest building. On Wednesday the construction project reached a milestone with the traditional topping out ceremony.
The tree topping ceremony is one of the major events in the construction of a skyscraper. It dates back hundreds of years to an old Nordic tradition. The evergreen which sits atop the Devon Tower started out as a sapling here in Oklahoma a couple of years ago. Now it stands as a beacon, 850 feet in the air, on Oklahoma's tallest building.
"This has grown out of, grown out of nothing, this building. So the tree, I think that's the significance is that tree grows from the Oklahoma soil and so has this building," said Safety Coordinator Scott Rowe.
The ceremony was a moment for the 1,200 workers to step back and admire their work and receive a big thank you from the boss.
"This building is not just about Devon. You are transforming the landscape of the city," said Devon Energy Executive Chairman Larry Nichols.
"Today is a celebration," said Daniel Gorden of Devon Construction. "It's an historic milestone of, you know, what's going on in Oklahoma City and it's a great honor to be part of it."
"It's a feeling you can't even describe because of how you feel about it," said Dirk Francis, a Devon construction worker.
"This has a special significance to me because I was in downtown Oklahoma City when there wasn't anything here," he said. "There's a lot of pride in this building. More pride than any job I've ever worked on."
The majority of the remaining work is on the interior part of the building, so weather delays should be minimal.
The next big event is in March. That's when the first employees move into the tower. That process will be over in June, but the construction itself will not be completely finished until early 2013.