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Nash UNC marks Women’s Center milestone

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A steel beam, signed by hospital officials, nursing staff and members of the construction team, is raised to the top of Nash UNC Health Care's new Women's Center on Thursday during the topping out ceremony.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Bucking a downsizing trend for hospitals, Nash UNC Health Care is expanding with construction of its Women’s Center.

The $25 million facility will include two floors of state-of-the-art spaces for obstetrical and women’s services.

“Opposite of the trend to shut down services, we’re growing,” said hospital CEO Larry Chewning at a Thursday ceremony to celebrate the construction of the center.

To mark the milestone of reaching the highest point of the building’s construction, a crane lifted the topmost steel beam, along with an American flag and an evergreen tree, into place at the top of the structure.

Known as a topping out, the Scandinavian tradition dates back thousands of years when buildings were made mostly of timber.

Chewning said the project had been in the planning stages for years and a doctor once remarked that if the center was built before his retirement, he’d buy everyone a steak dinner.

“I’d like mine medium well,” Chewning said.

Steak wasn’t on the menu at the ceremony, but workers, hospital staff and guests were prescribed a healthy heaping of barbecue, fried chicken, side fixings and ice-cold lemonade by Hunter Hill Cafe.

Before enjoying the catered lunch and watching the beam being lifted into place, Rodgers Builders CEO Pat Rodgers said workers had displaced 12,000 cubic feet of dirt, laid 1,700 cubic yards of concrete and erected 300 tons of steel so far – all without a stop-work injury.

“We want everyone to go home safe at the end of each day,” Rodgers said.

The facility will have four triage and consulting rooms, six birthing suites, 16 postpartum rooms, a dedicated room for cesarean sections and 12 private special care nursery rooms, according to information provided by Rachel Gorman, a public relations and marketing specialist for the hospital.

Construction, which began last year, is slated to be finished by the end of the year with the 47,048 square foot center opening in early 2016.

Efforts will now concentrate on the interior of the building including the mechanical, electrical and plumbing portions of the project.

“Thank you that we’re building up and not tearing down,” hospital chaplain Richard Joyner prayed in his invocation at the ceremony.

Affiliated with UNC Health Care, Nash UNC Health Care is comprised of five licensed hospitals totaling 403 beds.

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