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University Hospital Celebrates 'Topping Off' Event

Jul 25, 2008 10:00 AM

After more than two years of tolerating noisy trucks, cranes and crews, folks at University Hospital can see a light at the end of the tunnel: one more year until the scheduled completion of the expansion project.

To celebrate this milestone, staff and friends gathered on July 9 to witness the placement of the final metal beam during a traditional “Topping Off” ceremony. Hospital employees signed the beam before the program and watched as workers maneuvered it into place during the ceremony.

The new Patient Care Pavilion will add 120 private patient rooms, a new lobby, and a new cafeteria upon completion next summer. It will also support growth for critical service lines such as cardiovascular, neuroscience and surgical services.

“University Hospital has always been a gold standard in providing overall patient care,” said David Entwistle, University Hospitals & Clinics CEO. “Once the expansion is complete, we’ll have a beautiful, high-tech facility to accommodate our already exceptional staff and physicians.”

The Topping Off ceremony is believed to be an ancient Scandinavian tradition observed today by many large building contractors. After the final beam is secured, an evergreen tree is placed on top of the building to symbolize growth and bring luck. State and national flags are also traditionally raised.

So far, a whopping 1,900 tons of steel and enough concrete to fill more than three Olympic-sized swimming pools has been used to construct the Patient Care Pavilion, which will occupy nearly 222, 000 square feet.

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