Lutheran Hospital Tops Out

By Maureen Mespell
By Max Resnik

November 16, 2010 Updated Nov 16, 2010 at 6:59 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- Lutheran Hospital is another step closer to completing the fifth floor of its complex on West Jefferson Blvd. The hospital raised the last steel beam on the new fifth floor addition this afternoon.

Dozens of hospital staff, administration, doctors and construction workers joined together today to watch the ceremony. It’s a tradition in construction to bring special attention to the final beam that is laid in a project.

The final beam is white and is covered in the signatures of employees at the hospital. At one end sits a small evergreen tree, which serves as a symbol of life. The tree’s significance is a tradition of Native American culture and the belief that no man-made structure should be higher than that of a tree, or a naturally occurring structure. On the other end of the beam is the American flag.

The land where Lutheran Hospital now sits was once nothing but grassland. When it was purchased, that part of town was known as Southwest Allen County according to Mayor Tom Henry. It did not even fall within the Fort Wayne city limits. Now of course, it’s a recognized part of Southwest Fort Wayne and provides hundreds of jobs in that part of town.

Construction began in the 1990s. Upon initial construction hospital administrators knew they could not exceed five floors. Today, the fifth floor is not only in sight but nearly in walking distance.

More than 700 tons of steel have been used in the creation of the more than 58,00 square foot fifth floor which will turn semi-private rooms into fully private rooms. Ninety-six rooms will be housed there. CEO of Lutheran Hospital Networks Joe Dorko says the most exciting part of this construction is knowing that patients will have more privacy and that the hospital will be even better when it comes to preventing the spread of diseases.

Interior construction is slated to start in a few weeks. The fifth floor, if all goes to plan, should be completed in December of 2011.

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