With the final piece of steel added to the frame, the new Northern Inyo Hospital building is starting to take shape.
Its been about a month since the first piece of the steel framing was attached to the extensive underground foundation. In this relatively short period of time the internal skeleton that will be the hospital has risen from the ground.
On Thursday, construction crews, hospital staff, and officials gathered to celebrate the installation of the last piece of steel. People lined up to sign their names on the beam. Ironworkers Wild Bill and Fernando Cruz signed on, as did Hospital Board President Pete Watercott. Doctors and administrators also left their mark. Others wrote messages such as God bless the ironworker, and ironworkers local.
Attached to the final beam was an American flag and Christmas tree. John Hawes, the project superintendent for Turner Construction explained that the Christmas tree is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years, and brings good luck to the building. The tree also signifies that the building was built successfully with no injuries and no deaths.
Without much further ado, the foreman, Trae, gave the crane operator the signal to lift the final piece of steel that will support the roof. Two crew members spun the beam into place and inserted the bolts. Once the nuts were tightened down, the two men met in the middle of the beam to shake hands thirty feet off the ground.
Once completed, the $60 million project will be the tallest building in Bishop at just under 40 feet in height. If all goes according to plan, the new hospital is set to be finished in the fall of 2011.