By Tamas Mondovics

South Bay Hospital officials, employees, community VIP’s, along with representatives of general contractor Charles Perry Partners, Inc. (CPPI) paused for a bit last month to celebrate the next phase of the hospital’s new 30,900 sq. ft. new ICU/PCU tower construction.

Called “Topping Out,” the ceremony marked the point in construction when the structure’s highest element is hoisted into place, a practice that began in Scandinavia over 1,000 years ago.

Established in 1968, Charles R. Perry Construction began the “topping out” ceremony with its founder, Chuck Perry. CPPI continued its founder’s legacy with South Bay Hospital, 4016 Sun City Center Blvd. in Sun City Center, by commemorating the time honored tradition for the new hospital tower expansion.

“This latest phase in our expansion project is exciting,” said South Bay Hospital Chief Executive Officer Sharon Roush. “We feel the construction is moving along appropriately and we want to take time out to celebrate with our contractors, our employees and community.”

While pointing to a tree now sitting atop of the partially completed building, Roush further said that according to the Scandinavian tradition when the structure was complete, the topmost leafy branch of that tree would be set atop the roof.

“The gesture was to further convince the ‘tree dwelling spirits’ of their sincere appreciation for the people building the structure, in the hope that those living or working in the dwelling would flourish and have good fortune,” she said.

Speaking highly of his crew and what has so far been accomplished, Project Manager Jody McCoy said, “While there was a need to make some adjustments, and deal with some weather related delays, work is going well. We are a couple of months behind schedule, but expecting to close in the building by late-April or mid-May.”

The new Patient Tower will feature all private rooms and include a 14-bed Progressive Care service and 12 additional intensive care beds on the second floor. When complete, the new facility will increase the hospital’s bed total to 138. The new building has also been designed to accommodate future expansion of two floors for an additional 48 beds.

The actual renovation and refurbishing components of the project include a new hospital entrance, enhanced main lobby and gift shop, dining expansion, new education classrooms and a chapel. For more info, call 634-0172 or visit SouthBayHospital.com.