An eastern Carolina hospital celebrated a big milestone Thursday in their construction on what will be the largest expansion they've ever done.
CarolinaEast Medical Center is just three months into their massive expansion.
Thursday, community members, hospital staff, and dozens of members of the construction crew gathered to celebrate the final beam being put in place on the top of the three story building, which, when completed, will house a new women and children's health pavilion and will allow the hospital's clinical laboratory to expand as well.
The white beam, signed by hundreds of hospital staff, patients, and the men and women that worked to build the structure, was hoisted up by a crane in a traditional topping off ceremony, something hospital staff says signifies how far a much needed expansion has already come.
"This isn't just a building," explains Megan McGarvey, the hospital's public relations director. "This is a structure that will welcome new lives, and save lives, and it will be a haven for healing and recovery. And every single one of these craft workers had a part in that and so it's just, I don't know, it gave me chills."
More than a thousand employees and subcontractors with Rodgers Construction have put in nearly 19,000 hours of work. After the beam was set in place, the crew was treated to a special lunch and raffle to celebrate their hard work.
This 30,000 square foot new addition is expected to be completed by February of next year.
The hospital is also working to renovate over 70,000 square feet of the existing hospital structure, which will greatly improve the emergency room and several other areas. That is expected to be completed in late 2018.
The project is being funded through the hospital's reserve funds and is estimated to cost more than $50 million once it's completed.