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‘Topping Off’ Ceremony Marks Major Milestone for New Cottage Hospital

Construction is far from over, but hoisting the final beam to the top of the future Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is cause for celebration

The Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital construction project has a long way to go, but officials celebrated a milestone Thursday as one of the last steel beams was placed on the roof of the future Diagnostic and Treatment Center.

The five-ton beam was signed by Cottage Health System and hospital staff as well as construction workers before being hoisted up to the top of the structure for a “topping off” ceremony.

The $700 million-plus project was started in 2005 to comply with earthquake safety requirements.

Cottage Health System, a nonprofit organization that oversees many local hospitals, and McCarthy Building Companies, the general contractor, have partnered on many projects since the 1980s, said Steve Mynesberg, McCarthy’s executive vice president for health care services.

He commended the work of all involved given the difficulty and scope of the project — the largest for Cottage Hospital, according to president and CEO Ron Werft. “We’re out of land on this block,” Werft said.

The hundreds of construction workers clad in orange and yellow were praised by Mynesberg and Werft for their work, as construction is ahead of schedule and includes difficult design demands.

Cottage Health System executive vice president Steve Fellows signs the last steel beam to be hoisted to the top of the new hospital
Cottage Health System executive vice president Steve Fellows signs the last steel beam to be hoisted to the top of the new hospital. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

“We want to cover this steel up as fast as we can, as pretty as it is,” to complete the project on time, Mynesberg said. True to his word, the hard-hatted audience members were out of their seats the moment the podium was empty and headed back to work.

The majority of funding for the project was provided by Cottage Health System, which includes Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara and Cottage Children’s Hospital and Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital, Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital and Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital. Private donors contributed millions of funds to the project, surpassing the $100 million goal, Werft said.

Thus far, two parking structures, the Orfalea Children’s Center and Energy Center, are complete and open. The current phase includes the Diagnostic and Treatment Center and two patient pavilions, all of which are expected to be completed in 2011.

Once the new pavilions are available for patient care, renovations on existing buildings will begin.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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