Cover Story
Salt River Judicial Center Topping-Out Ceremony
By Sheila Begay
Au-Authm Action News

On Friday, January 22, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community hosted a topping-out ceremony for the new Salt River Judicial Center, currently under construction at the corner of Osborn and Longmore roads. Community members and non-Community members gathered on the east end of the building to help raise the building’s last steel roof beam into place.

A special beam-signing took place a day before, on Thursday, January 21, east of Two Waters Building A, where Community members and tribal employees could sign their names and be part of the group effort for this new development within the Community. The beam carried well over 100 signatures with messages such as “May Justice Prevail,” “Justice for All,” “Go Bird Gang” and “A Day of New Beginnings.”

On Friday, the event kicked off with a prayer led by Community member Eleanor Enos. Thereafter, SRPMIC President Delbert Ray, Sr. and Chief Judge Ryan Andrews were among the last to sign the beam. An American flag and a banner were placed on the beam before it was lifted away and placed by two construction workers. This was nearly the last piece of the puzzle for the structural construction of the new judicial center.

The Community’s seniors were able to watch from the balcony off the third-floor administrative offices. They were given a front-row view, along with refreshments, to enjoy the ceremony.

“I’m excited. This is my first time seeing something like that,” said elder Marion James about the topping out-ceremony.

“Comparing this to the old court building, that one was really small and it’s past its time. The Community has grown quite a bit, and this [building] is close by. This one is a whole lot different; they upgraded a lot,” said Community elder Tony Dallas. “It was pretty interesting to see the last beam put in. I look forward to seeing it finished … and I’m thankful that the Council invited us to come and observe the last beam sitting up here. It’s really nice; we were really excited to see the president and the Council. It’s good to see them all involved in our Community projects like this.”

The judicial center is set for a fall 2016 opening. Stay tuned for updates.

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