STAMFORD, Conn., -- Stamford Hospital celebrated a major milestone in its $450 million construction of a new hospital with a “topping off” ceremony and party Wednesday evening.
“Here tonight we are celebrating a stunning example of what the community and the hospital working in partnership can achieve,” Mayor David Martin said to about 400 people gathered for the ceremony. “It’s fabulous that the hospital has chosen to invest in the future of Stamford.”
Topping off is a tradition in the construction industry when the last beam is placed atop a new structure.
The Stamford Hospital project is expected to be completed next spring, with the summer of 2016 tagged as the time when it will be ready for use.
It will a couple of weeks before the last beam is actually placed on the structure, but Wednesday’s ceremony was the best time to have the event, said Craig Andrews, the hospital’s director of public relations.
The guests who gathered underneath a tent took the opportunity to sign the steel beams that will be placed on top of the new hospital.
The ceremony was held in the shadow of the new addition to the hospital that is becoming an imposing part of the city’s already impressive skyline.
Although the hospital’s beds will remain at 305 – with 64 to be in the old building – the 241 beds in the new hospital will be in all-private rooms with private baths and family lounges.
The emergency department will more than triple in size, increasing from 14,200 square feet and 31 treatment positions to 48,530 square feet and 48 treatment positions.
The 12-story building will be topped by a helistop for helicopters.
In a prerecorded video, NBC Nightly News anchor and managing editor Brian Williams of New Canaan, who said two of this children were born in the hospital, praised the effort that led to the construction.
Kathy Silard, chief operating officer and executive vice president, was thrilled that the hospital has reached a major goal.
"This is an exciting and exhilarating evening for us because this is the culmination of many years of work,” she said.
The hospital began to look at expanding about a decade ago, she said.
“While we had excellent clinical programs, our facilities were old, and even though we had renovated them many times, they didn’t really represent what we wanted in terms of the facility for this community,” she said.
“The thing I am most excited about is the opportunity to have all private rooms and private baths for our patients and their families as they go through the healing process,” Silard said.