Campus News


SUA Holds Topping Off Ceremony

top off

On September 29, Soka University of America held a Topping Off Ceremony for the new performing arts center and classroom building projected to open in fall 2011. Over 150 participants, including university officials, local dignitaries, community members, students, faculty and staff, and the entire design and construction team, celebrated the placement of the final massive roof truss securing the roof of the performing arts center. Those in attendance applauded as the last of the four trusses that are 16.5 feet tall and 114 feet wide was slowly placed by a 300-ton crawler crane. 

The construction of these state-of-the-art facilities began last December, with a three-level performing arts center housing a 1000-seat auditorium, support areas and a reception lobby. Located adjacent to the new center is the four-level classroom building, which will include a black box theatre, 11 classrooms, 4 dressing rooms, 29 faculty offices and other support areas. The design of the facilities will feature various sustainable and energy efficiency solutions.  The academic building, for example, will have operable windows, ceiling fans, displacement ventilation and radiant panels.  The performing arts center will have a "green roof" and a sunshade structure surrounding the lobby that will use photovoltaic (solar) panels.

The trusses were so large that they were delivered at night with a California Highway Patrol escort

Danny sign
SUA President Danny Habuki signs beam at an event held just before the ceremony

The performing arts center and classroom building will serve not only the future growth and development of the university but also the community members of Aliso Viejo as a bastion of music and the arts.


At the ceremony, SUA President Danny Habuki shared that he was very pleased to share this historic moment with the community members of Aliso Viejo, as well as the students, faculty and staff of the university. He expressed his heartfelt appreciation to those who contributed to the development of the buildings, from the design team to the construction workers who have worked hard on the project under the hot California sun over the past few months.

design team
Members of the design and construction team

Mr. William "Bill" Phillips, a council member of the Aliso Viejo City Council (AVCA), also spoke at the event and shared that the city took pride in the growth of the university. He also expressed his expectation of the different possibilities that the center will bring to the community upon completion in 2011. Mr. Phillips went on to highlight the university's leading efforts to incorporate sustainable solutions in the construction of the new facilities as an example to the local community.  Noting that the completion of the buildings in 2011 will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the City of Aliso Viejo and Soka University of America, Mr. Phillips shared his hopes for the city to collaborate with the university in celebrating their anniversaries through the possible use of the new performing arts center.

bill phil
AVCA City Council Member Bill Phillips speaks to the audience

A commemorative photo of all those present at the Topping Off Ceremony was taken at the end of the program.

Photos by Mitsu Kimura, University Archivist and Photographer