Loma Linda University Medical Center celebrated the Topping Off Ceremony for its new hospital tower yesterday with several hundred administrators, employees, construction workers and community members watching as the ceremonial final steel beam was put in place.
The topping-off of the tower is the latest milestone toward completion of the new Loma Linda University Medical Center and Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital facilities. The two new buildings will meet and exceed California’s upcoming seismic requirements for hospitals while allowing Loma Linda University Health to meet the growing needs of its community.
“We’ve planned for a new Loma Linda University Medical Center and Children’s Hospital tower for many years,” Kerry Heinrich, CEO of Loma Linda University Medical Center, said in an address to attendees at yesterday’s ceremony. “While there is still much to do before this project is complete, this Topping Off ceremony brings us one giant leap closer to that reality.”
The ceremonial final steel beam was placed on top of the adult tower as part of the helipad ramp. Lifted and then lowered into place by a crane, the beam was traditionally adorned with an evergreen tree on one side and the American flag on the other. Heinrich spoke of the significance of those two items at the ceremony, saying the tree stood as a symbol of hope and prosperity for future occupants, and the flag represented the pride and care invested into the project by those who’ve worked on its construction.
The 16-story steel frame of the new Medical Center tower is the tallest building in San Bernardino County. Sharing a common pedestal of five stories, it is parallel to the new Children’s Hospital tower, which, standing at nine stories tall, was topped off in September. Combined, the two towers share approximately 25 thousand tons of steel.
Groundbreaking for the new facilities took place in May 2016, with the first piece of steel being placed in December 2017. McCarthy Building Companies, the general contractor, took on the construction project at the beginning of its conception. In early November, they began the interior construction phase of the new Children’s Hospital tower.
The new Medical Center will house 320 beds for adult patients, while the new Children’s tower will give Children’s Hospital a total of 373 licensed beds. The new facilities will also be a place where 4,700 Loma Linda University students and 700 residents will progress in their education. Nearby, the current Medical Center services nearly half a million patients annually.
Construction of the new facilities was announced in 2014 as a part of Vision 2020 – The Campaign for a Whole Tomorrow, the organization’s largest philanthropic endeavor in its 110-year history, which to date has raised more than $300 million.