The final steel beam was placed Friday on the structure of the new St. Mary's Health Center on Mission Drive, signifying another milestone in the construction of the new $200 million hospital complex in Jefferson City.
"Today is one step closer to the reality of giving exceptional care in a new and more efficient way," said Brent VanConia, president of St. Mary's Health Center. "There are many more important and visual milestones in the months to come."
Project manager Tim Gunn with construction company Alberici, said there were two symbols placed on the beam, an evergreen tree and an American flag.
He said the evergreen tree comes from a Scandinavian tradition where house builders would place an evergreen tree on the final beam to give back to the foliage that was taken away from the site of a project.
"The flag is a tradition from American iron workers to show patriotism and pride in the country," Gunn said.
Since local dignitaries, St. Mary's officials and employees broke ground on the project in July 2012, workers have expended more than 70,000 work hours on the project, 70 percent of which were completed by local firms and workers. Gunn expects the completed project to be just shy of 1 million work hours.
VanConia said the construction project is on budget and workers are about six weeks ahead of schedule.
"We're still on track to open in January 2015, but since we're slightly ahead of schedule, I'm optimistic we may be able to get in in late 2014," VanConia said.
With the final steel beam in place, Gunn said, crews will begin pouring concrete floors and slabs in the building within the next few months.
"We'll then begin piping, duct work and working on the exterior of the building," Gunn said. "We hope to have the building enclosed by the end of the year."
As construction progresses on the new hospital, VanConia said hospital officials are engaged with Sansone Group of St. Louis to market the facility's current site at 100 St. Mary's Medical Plaza. At this point, he said, it's too early to tell what the site's future will be.
"We're just thrilled with this new site," he said. "We also love the views it will have of nature and how it will be seen from Mission Drive and Missouri 179."