HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Great progress is being made on the construction of the new City Hall in downtown Huntsville.

Wednesday, the city celebrated a construction milestone: installing the final beam on the top of the structure.

The beam installation ceremony is referred to as “topping out”.

Prior to hoisting the beam, city workers, city officials, and construction workers all got to make their mark on history by signing the beam.

Councilmember Jennie Robinson watches on with Mayor Tommy Battle as Councilmember Bill Kling and council president John Meredith sign the beam.

The “topping out” ceremony is a tradition in the construction of large buildings, tying back to Scandinavian practices. Per tradition, an evergreen tree is typically placed on top of a new building to “appease the tree-dwelling spirits.”

In the spirit of being local, Magnolia leaves from Huntsville were used instead of evergreen leaves.

The City of Huntsville says the ceremony also ties back to the Native American belief that “no structure could be taller than the trees.”

The beam being hoisted on top of the building for installation.

The new City Hall building sits right next to the current City Hall in downtown Huntsville.

Mayor Tommy Battle said plans for the new building started back in 2012.

“It was pretty obvious that the City Hall that we had, had come to the end of its usefulness and it had leaks and some falling tiles and some other things, so it was time to make that move,” Mayor Battle said.

He even held up a dirty bucket while giving his remarks during the ceremony, referring to how buckets have had to be placed around the existing City Hall when it rains, to catch leaks.

The new City Hall will be seven stories tall with an attached parking garage. Battle said it has been designed with city workers and citizens in mind.

Battle hopes the new building outlasts the lifespan of the current City Hall, which was completed in the 1960s.

“It will last 100 years,” he said. “It will be a building that will meet the needs of a growing city and represent our legacy of the past and our legacy of the future.”

Battle said construction is moving at a good pace. He anticipates exterior and interior construction will be complete by early 2024. After that, the city will start the process of moving in furnishings from the existing City Hall.

The mayor anticipates a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held for the new building by late spring or early summer 2024.