A large steel beam bearing the signatures of dozens of Beaufort Marines was hoisted into place Friday as Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort celebrated the construction of a new $12.9 million fitness center.
Air station officials and local business and political leaders attended a "topping off" ceremony, signifying the end of major structural work for the multi-story, 48,700-square-foot center.
Col. Brian Murtha, the air station's commanding officer, said he often jogs by the site and is pleased by the progress.
"This is just one example of the Marine Corps keeping its promise to give back to our Marines and their families," Murtha said.
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Work on the center began last year after Navy officials tapped Hightower Construction Co. of Charleston in September for the work. The center is being built between the cafeteria and the Afterburners restaurant and bar.
Jimmy Hightower said his firm was honored to win the contract and proud the project is on budget and on schedule.
"We were so happy that (the Navy) selected a small, local contractor to build this building," Hightower said. "This is a fairly large project for a small business ... and we're honored to build this fitness center for the Marines who protect and serve our country."
The work is scheduled to be completed by May 2013, Hightower said.