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Builders observe an ancient religious rite as UT's Moody Center venue hits a construction milestone

The Moody Center celebrated its topping out on Tuesday ahead of its debut next year. (Moody Center/David Brendan Hall)

The Moody Center, a $338 million, 530,000-square-foot multipurpose arena at the University of Texas at Austin, celebrated its topping out on Tuesday.

With the final beam placed, the arena's steel-frame structural phase—which involved more than 5.3 million pounds of steel—is complete.

"This past year has been full of unprecedented events, not to mention weather challenges, and yet the women and men working on this project continue to deliver," Moody Center General Manager and Senior Vice President Jeff Nickler said in a press release.

To celebrate the topping out Oak View Group, the development and investment firm behind the Moody Center will affix a tree to the final beam in keeping with the time-honored tradition.

The practice dates back to ancient Scandinavian religious rites, which involved placing a tree atop new buildings to appease tree-dwelling spirits displaced during the construction process, according to the International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Ironworkers in Washington D.C.

After the steel-frame structure phase, the development will move on to enclosing and finishing the interior of the Moody Center.

Rendering of the Moody Center. (Moody Center)

The arena is set to open next April and already has some major acts scheduled for its inaugural year, including The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, John Mayer and The Killers. It will replace the 43-year-old Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center and serve as the home of UT's men's and women's basketball games, among other sports and community events.


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