In a traditional “topping out” ceremony, a 200-foot crane lowered the final beam to waiting ironworkers who secured the beam into place in front of a crowd of about 200 people who had gathered for the ceremony. The beam was covered with the signatures of hospital employees, construction workers, county leaders and members of the public and, in a nod to tradition, topped with an American flag and a pine tree.
The significance of the tree dates back to ancient Scandinavia where a tree was placed on top of a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits displaced in its construction. The tradition carried on even after iron and steel became the main components of large construction projects.
“This is a big day for the people of Ventura County,” said County Executive Officer Michael Powers. “Many lives will be saved in this building, children will be born and the medical professionals who will soon walk its halls with improve the health of generations of future residents. And none of it would have been possible without the backing from our Board of Supervisors, the hard work of many different county agencies, the dedication of our employees and the support of the public.”
When it is completed in 2017, the 232,000-square-foot building will include state-of-the-art operating rooms, labor and delivery rooms, radiology, intensive care and a pediatric unit that includes a rooftop playground and a Ronald McDonald House for the families of critically ill children.
“The many people who have worked together to make this day possible share a commitment to excellence,” said Barry Fisher, director of the Health Care Agency. “The quality of this building will match the high caliber health care that our medical professionals provide to our community, especially for those who face barriers to better health. As construction continues, we will pursue a relentless path to quality and access for everyone in our community.”
The last beam finished the “skeleton” of the building, opening the way to start adding floors, walls, plumbing, wiring and all of the other work needed to finish the project. When it is done, the hospital wing will be wrapped with attractive concrete and glass architectural details.