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St. Mary Medical Center Marks 2015 with a Symbolic Beam Raising Ceremony

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: January 9, 2015

2015 is already proving to be an exceptional year for St. Mary Medical Center. Construction began in 2014 for the new surgical pavilion and on January 9, 2015, a beam raising ceremony was held to commemorate the project.

The last set of steel structural beams was about to be installed on the pavilion. There hasn't been a project this big since the West Patient Tower opened 10 years ago.

"We believe in enhancing our services to keep as much care as we can with the highest technology and the highest quality care close to home for the residents of Northwest Indiana," Janice Ryba, CEO of St. Mary Medical Center said. "This is also an exciting time for our medical staff and surgical team."

Ground was broken in Spring of 2014 and the project is going to be competed this coming fall. Ryba thanked the Center's Board of Directors and the medical staff for their help and leadership and she also thanked the individuals who helped to physically piece the pavilion together: Walsh Construction, VOA Associates Incorporated, Nayyar and Nayyar International, Inc., North Star Engineering, Inc., and other subcontractors.

Michael Whelan, President of the Building Division for Walsh Construction took to the podium next.

"When you have an expansion project like this it's really unique. You get to interact with the staff that works here in the hospital everyday and that makes it more challenging and fun," Whelan said. "And something that is very important to us is safety. Over 28,000 man hours were put into this project without one incident. That is something that we are very proud of and we want to make sure that the people that come to work on this site leave the way that they came in... Another thing that is very important to us is delivering a quality project. Everyone that is working out there is proud of what they are doing and proud of the end product that will be used by the community for many, many years."

An old Scandinavian tradition was implemented that day as a Christmas tree was fastened to the beam that was ceremoniously raised to the highest point. It symbolized the reaching of a pivotal point in the completion of the project.

Business leaders, community leaders, and medical personnel gathered to watch as the steel beam, covered in signatures of St. Mary's staff as well as others, was hoisted into the air and secured high up onto the skeletal structure of the pavilion. 

Keith Baker, a union iron worker with Stevens Ironworks Inc was out onsite with some of his fellow iron workers from Iron Workers Local #395. They fastened an American flag on the opposite end of the beam from the symbolic Christmas tree.

"This project, like every project that we do, is special. We enjoy what we do and the lifting of the Christmas tree marks a milestone in construction," Baker said. 

The addition of the Surgical Pavilion/ICU will add more than 113,000 square feet to the Center. The new surgical department will claim almost half of that square footage. The surgical department will be on the first floor, the second floor will hold a 20-bed intensive care unit, and the third and fourth floors will be shelled-in as additional space that can be used for future patient care.

 For more information on St. Mary Medical Center, visit www.comhs.org