COSTA MESA, CA — The Orange County Museum of Art celebrates a major construction milestone this week, with the addition of the final structural beam for the new building at the Segerstrom Center For The Arts in Costa Mesa. The placement of the beam, also known as “Topping Out,” is recognized along with the generosity of nine lead donors who have given major gifts to the project.

The “Topping Out” ceremony also came with the announcement that the museum has raised $53 million toward construction of the new building, now scheduled to open in 2022.

Sarah Jesse, OCMA Interim Director & CEO spoke on the news, saying that the achievement of ‘Topping Out’ amid the coronavirus pandemic is “no small feat and epitomizes what has made this project so special: the unwavering vision to create a world-class art museum for our community. We are thrilled to be one important step closer to OCMA’s new home at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts,” Jesse says.

The generous donors who have made major gifts include Noella and James Bergener; Henry Davis and Christina Fazzone; Cynthia and Stephen Fry; Jennifer and Anton Segerstrom; The Segerstrom Foundation; Jim and Pam Muzzy; Jeri and Danny McKenna; Hal Struck; and a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

The new 53,000-square-foot facility designed by Morphosis, the global architecture and design firm led by Pritzker Prize-winner Thom Mayne, will be characterized by an open gathering space within the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Orange County’s largest center for arts and culture.

With nearly 25,000 square feet of exhibition galleries—approximately 50 percent more than the Museum’s former location in Newport Beach—the new building will allow OCMA to organize major special exhibitions and further its mission to enrich the lives of a diverse and changing community through modern and contemporary art, with an emphasis on artists rooted in Southern California and the Pacific Rim. It will also feature an additional 10,000 square feet for education programs, performances, and public gatherings, and will include administrative offices, a gift shop, and a café.

Clark Construction Group is leading the museum’s building effort, which has employed over 350 people to date, including many Orange County residents. Despite a challenging spring and summer due to the pandemic, construction crews have maintained momentum on site while ensuring the safety of the workforce and surrounding community; iron workers on the project successfully erected a complex steel structure with no major hurdles. With the project’s steel superstructure complete, the construction team will shift their focus to the enclosure of the building.

The ceremony for OCMA’s $75 million project brought together Katrina Foley, Mayor, City of Costa Mesa; Mark Perry, Board Chair, Segerstrom Center for the Arts; Carlos Gonzalez, Regional Executive Officer, Clark Construction Group; Brandon Welling, Managing Partner, Morphosis; Annette Wiley, OCMA Board of Trustees Building Committee Chair; Ellen Marshall, OCMA Trustee; David Emmes II, OCMA Trustee and Co-Chair of OCMA Capital Campaign; Teri Kennady, Chair of OCMA’s largest support group, the Visionaries, OCMA Trustee; Curt Lyon, OCMA Trustee, Laurén Chalmers, OCMA Trustee; Jim Pick, OCMA Trustee and Rosalyn Laudati; Tom Rogers, OCMA Trustee Emeritus; Casey Reitz, President of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts; Judy Morr, Executive Vice President of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts; Nancy West, Vice President of Grants for the Segerstrom Foundation, as well as OCMA’s lead donors Jennifer and Anton Segerstrom, OCMA Trustee and Co-Chair of OCMA Capital Campaign; Jim and Pam Muzzy, and Hal Struck, OCMA Trustee.

The ceremony was also livestreamed so that museum supporters and the public could watch from a safe distance.

“Clark is honored to play a role in delivering a project that will continue to enhance the cultural landscape in Southern California,” Gonzalez says. “OCMA’s ‘Topping Out’ ceremony is a significant moment in the life of this project and the culmination of months of hard work by the skilled men and women who help us build. We are thrilled to mark this milestone and look forward to moving the project to a safe and successful completion.”

“As a design firm founded and based in Southern California, we’re so proud to have a role in shaping the future of one of the most significant cultural institutions in the region. We hope the new building can become a platform for expanding on OCMA’s legacy of launching new artists and ideas and connecting Orange County to a global dialogue. ‘Topping Out’ the building brings us one step closer to completing the new museum and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts as it was originally imagined,” remarked Mr. Welling.

The museum recently reopened with five new exhibitions, and also continues its critically acclaimed virtual programming. Additionally, the museum hosted a virtual Gala last Saturday, which raised over $350,000, and honored renowned artist Kori Newkirk whose work is in the museum collection.

This article originally appeared on the Newport Beach-Corona Del Mar Patch