Work came to a halt Wednesday on construction of Pinnacle Health's new West Shore Hospital.
But only long enough for the medical community and construction workers to celebrate placing the final steel beam in place.
The topping out ceremony can be traced back to an ancient Scandinavian religious practice. It migrated to England and eventually made it here.
Pinnacle Health employees, physicians, volunteers, community leaders and construction workers gathered on the cold, blustery day and signed their names on the last steel beam of the 188,000 square foot facility.
The evergreen tree symbolizes growth and good luck. The presence of the American flag speaks for itself.
Expected to be completed in June 2014, the five-story, 108-bed hospital will have seven operating rooms, three heart catheter labs, 12-bed intensive care unit and an 18-treatment room emergency department.
As its name implies, it will meet a need on the West Shore.
"We have a growing population,” explained Pinnacle Heath Chairman George Grode. “We have about 9,000 people we serve in the downtown Harrisburg Hospital. For patients’ convenience we want to convert many of our downtown Harrisburg Hospital private rooms.”
“This will enable West Shore residences to be within ten minutes of a primary care doctor 20 minutes for diagnostic services and everyone within the region will be within 30 minutes of a Pinnacle Health systems hospital," Grode added.
Pinnacle Health says growth and an aging Central Pennsylvania population have placed a new demand for health care services. The West Shore Hospital will help address that issue.