Construction workers Tuesday hoisted an evergreen and a palmetto tree to the very top of Palmetto Health’s new hospital near Irmo. (Photo/Chuck Crumbo)
By Chuck Crumbo
Published Oct. 2, 2012
Workers today hoisted an evergreen and a palmetto tree to the very top of Palmetto Health’s new hospital near Irmo, marking a key milestone in the construction of the $99 million medical facility.
The topping-out ceremony signaled that the last steel I beam in the four-story-tall Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge hospital was in place. The project is scheduled to be completed in December 2013.
“What an exciting day this is,” said John J. Singerling III, president of Palmetto Health. “We said at the groundbreaking session that building a brand-new hospital is really a dream come true — one that health care organizations are rarely able to undertake.”
The 76-bed hospital is the first full-service medical facility built since Palmetto Health was founded in 1998 by the merger of Richland and Baptist hospitals.
The 224,590-square-foot hospital, located on a 77-acre site near Lake Murray Boulevard and Interstate 26, will serve a growing residential and commercial corridor northwest of Columbia.
Some 180,000 people live in the area that includes Irmo, Harbison, Chapin and Dutch Fork.
Putting an evergreen — in this case a Leyland cypress — at the top most of a structure serves as a signal that celebration was about to begin, said Pat Rodgers, president and CEO of Rodgers Builders Inc., of Charlotte. A palmetto was added because it is the state tree, she said. It also is incorporated in Palmetto Health’s logo.
For today’s ceremony, workers fastened the two trees to an 8-foot-long beam that was bolted to the stair tower. The beam, painted white, was signed by workers and spectators.
“This project is an example of collaboration at its finest, and I am excited to celebrate the results of the hard work,” said Charles Beaman, CEO of Palmetto Health.
Rodgers said the construction project daily employs 200 to 250 workers. When completed, the hospital will be staffed by 450 full-time employees. Palmetto Health has about 9,000 employees in the Midlands.
The hospital will offer a range of services including a 24/7 emergency room, intensive care unit, labor and delivery unit, and a newborn nursery.
Later this year, Palmetto Health plans to break ground on an 80,000-square-foot medical building that will be connected by an elevated walkway. The building is expected to be completed by the time the hospital opens.
An existing four-story medical office building is across the road from the new hospital. It houses a convenience care facility to serve walk-in patients without an appointment, physician offices, an imaging and diagnostic center, a full-service laboratory and an ambulatory surgery facility.