Albemarle County, Virginia
MJH Hospital officials, community members and the Mortenson Construction team gathered for a topping off ceremony at the replacement hospital construction site at Peter Jefferson Place Wednesday morning. The final steel beam was hoisted into place following a brief presentation.
Both the American flag and a Christmas tree were attached to the final beam as it was hoisted into place during the topping off ceremony for the replacement Martha Jefferson Hospital. The Christmas tree symbolizes a major milestone has been reached in the construction process, and also signifies a safe work environment, as the risk of injury decreases once all the steel is set in place. In addition, the Christmas tree tradition is seen by some as a good luck charm for the future occupants of the building.
Incorporating a Christmas tree into topping off ceremonies has become an important custom for the steel-construction industry across the country. Although the exact origin is unknown, many believe the tradition has its roots in Scandinavian culture
Two separate ceremonies were held during the day. The Mortenson team was recognized for their work, and donors who have helped make the replacement hospital project possible were recognized on site later in the day.
Planning for the replacement hospital began in 2003 and construction started in the summer of 2008. The 500,000 square-foot facility costs $275 million and will be located on an 84-acre campus. Construction is set to be completed in 2012.
Fun facts about the new hospital under construction:
300 workers on site per day
5,000,000 pounds of steel
43,000 tons of concrete (approximately)
4.3 miles of site utilities
7 miles of curb & gutter
10,000 Lineal feet of sidewalks
Martha Jefferson also operates Afton Family Medicine, staffed by Dr. Steve Schmitz and Dr. Charles Cole who write Nelson County Life’s monthly medical column. A new Afton Family Medicine Clinic is also on the drawing board here in Nelson County with construction to start in the coming months.