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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
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Final beam placed for new hospital wing

By Michael McFall

Construction workers fitted the final steel beam onto the U Hospital’s new wing, the Patient Care Pavilion, Wednesday morning.

Hospital personnel, media and spectators gathered on the hospital’s helipad to sign the beam and watch a crane carry it from the pad to the expansion’s steel skeleton.

The Patient Care Pavilion will create space for 120 new private patient rooms, a new lobby and a new cafeteria. The cost of the expansion is estimated at $130 million.

David Entwistle, CEO of U Hospitals and Clinics, gave a speech at the ceremony, thanking contributors to the project.

“It worked out really well that we could temporarily use this pad to see that steel literally going into place,” he said, motioning to the welding sparks and other construction going on near the parking lot below.

The new pavilion is the final phase in a three-part hospital expansion project. The first phase opened the Critical Care Pavilion in 2003.

“The next phase was to add two additional floors to that building and additions to the parking lot where the helipad is,” said Chris Nelson, a spokesman for U Health Sciences.

The hospital has approximately 400 private and semi-private rooms, which can hold two patients. When the Patient Care Pavilion is complete, the hospital will only have private patient rooms.

“The semi-rooms will be renovated back into private rooms for patients,” Nelson said. “We have to double the number of rooms because we’re going from semi-private to private.”

Attached to the beam was an American flag and a small evergreen tree. This ceremony of adorning the final beam with a tree and a flag is part of an old Scandinavian tradition dating back to 700 A.D.

David Layton, CEO of Layton Construction, said it’s a very common tradition among construction companies.

“This facility will perpetuate healing and life, and if you look at the evergreen, isn’t that exactly what it does in our forest?” Layton said.

Construction on the new wing began two years ago. Layton said that it has been one of his company’s most difficult projects because the work is happening next to a fully operational hospital.

The beam was the last of 1,900 tons of steel that Layton Construction has used in the wing’s skeletal frame. The next step is to construct a roof and outer shell.

It’s especially important to complete an exterior covering before winter, so that construction isn’t slowed down and the company can finish the project by summer of next year, Layton said.

“It’s incredible to think (that) in a year from now we’ll (be) standing in the same spot?for our grand opening,” Entwistle said.

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Greg Harlow

Employees and community members sign the final beam before it was lowered into place at the U Hospital.

Greg Harlow

Construction workers watch as the final beam is lowered into place for an expansion the U Hospital Wednesday morning.

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