Celebrating ‘Topping Out’ milestone at Clark College’s new Advanced Manufacturing Center in Ridgefield

Attendees of Thursday’s ceremony gather with the signed beam to commemorate the milestone. Photo courtesy Clark College Communications
Attendees of Thursday’s ceremony gather with the signed beam to commemorate the milestone. Photo courtesy Clark College Communications

The event celebrated the structure reaching its full height

RIDGEFIELD – On Thursday (Nov. 2), Clark College in collaboration with leading developer and design-builder, Mortenson, hosted a “topping out” ceremony at the Advanced Manufacturing Center, the first building being constructed at Clark College at Boschma Farms, 264 N 65th Ave., Ridgefield. The event celebrated the structure reaching its full height.  

During the ceremony, nearly 100 attendees including the college mascot, Oswald the Penguin, watched as a blue-painted steel beam decorated with the U.S. flag and an evergreen tree symbolizing persistence, prosperity and longevity, were positioned at the structure’s pinnacle.  

“The Advanced Manufacturing Center will equip future students with innovative training for careers in the manufacturing trades while also providing programs accessible to Ridgefield and the communities in north Clark County,” said Dr. Karin Edwards, president of Clark College. “Our vision is for this progressive instructional center to serve our growing region and the critical workforce needs, including advanced manufacturing.” 

“Clark College is a beacon of opportunity for equitable access to higher education in Southwest Washington,” said Christhian Canceco Juarez, chair of the Clark College Board of Trustees. “This Advanced Manufacturing Center not only stands as a testament to the college’s commitment to innovation and growth but also underscores our dedication to our community needs and providing the local industry with highly skilled workers. We are grateful to Mortenson and the design-build team for their partnership in this transformative project.” 

The crowd watches as the beam is lifted into place. Photo courtesy Clark College Communications
The crowd watches as the beam is lifted into place. Photo courtesy Clark College Communications

Set for completion in late 2024, the Advanced Manufacturing Center spans 49,000 square feet on a 10-acre property due east of the Ridgefield Junction. The 35,000 square feet dedicated to manufacturing training will include three industry-specific classrooms, four labs, five manufacturing cells and a vast open manufacturing floor. The remaining 14,000 square feet will house five general education classrooms and faculty and student amenities.  

On track to be a LEED Silver certified building, the Advanced Manufacturing Center will meet state energy performance standards, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve operational efficiencies.  

Designed to accommodate a multitude of both instructional and community needs, the Advanced Manufacturing Center will be adaptable for future growth. Manufacturing and classroom spaces will be designed for multiple delivery modes including lecture, collaborative, project-based learning, and hybrid models implementing online content and classroom application. The facility’s acoustic design will ensure that unamplified voice communication will carry above ambient machine noise.  

A noteworthy aspect of the project’s construction is the building’s prefabricated exterior walls which will soon be installed by the Vancouver-based team from contractor and fabricator, Western Partitions, Inc. The progressive design-build construction delivery method, spearheaded by Mortenson and in collaboration with Henneberry Eddy Architects, are instrumental to the successful implementation of the use of prefabrication in this project and its resulting efficiencies. 

Mike Dickey, senior project manager of Mortenson, emphasized the project’s unique attributes. 

“The history of ‘topping out,’ while debated in its origins, represents a symbol of gratitude for the hard work that has brought us to this moment. And, the evergreen tree atop the beam represents both a thanksgiving and a prayer for the health and prosperity of future students and community members who will inhabit this structure,” said Mike Dickey, senior project manager of Mortenson. “As we mark this critical milestone and reflect on the 155 days and roughly 19,000 hours of injury-free work, we underscore our commitment to timeliness and safety. I stand proud of everyone who has contributed to the Advanced Manufacturing Center at Clark College at Boschma Farms and extend a heartfelt thanks for a job well done.”   

When it opens Fall of 2025, the Advanced Manufacturing Center will provide initial enrollment of 32 students in two cohorts of 16, with plans to eventually serve 48 students across three cohorts. In addition, this Clark building will also provide five general education classes with a computer lab that will have the capacity to serve up to 1,200 students per term. 

About Mortenson  

Mortenson is a U.S.-based, top-20 builder, developer, and engineering services provider serving the commercial, institutional, and energy sectors. Mortenson’s expanding portfolio of integrated services helps its customers move their strategies forward, ensuring their investments result in high-performing assets. The result is a turnkey partner, fully invested in the business success of its customers. Founded in 1954, Mortenson has operations across the U.S. with offices in Chicago, Denver, Fargo, 

Iowa City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. For additional information, visit www.mortenson.com.  

About Clark College 

Founded in 1933 and celebrating its 90th year, Clark College provides residents of Southwest Washington with affordable, high-quality academic and technical education. It is a public community college offering more than 100 degree and certificate programs, including bachelor’s and associate degrees; professional certificates; high school diplomas and GED preparation; and non-credit community and continuing education. Clark serves a wide range of students including high school students, displaced workers, veterans, parents, non-native English speakers, and mature learners. Approximately three-quarters of its students are in the first generation of their families to attend college. 

With its main campus located in Vancouver’s Central Park, Clark College serves over 8,000 students per term. Clark College is Southwest Washington’s largest public institution of higher education. The college currently offers classes at two satellite locations: Washington State University Vancouver campus and Columbia Tech Center in East Vancouver. Additionally, the college broke ground this June on its third location, Clark College at Boschma Farms, in Ridgefield. 

Information provided by Clark College Communications.

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