The construction of the wellness center at Summit Pacific Medical Center in Elma has reached a major milestone.
For weeks, a 500-ton crane has towered over the construction site, a piece of equipment so uncommon in Elma that it has drawn significant attention. On Friday, March 23, the final steel beam on the south side of the structure was welded into place, and by Monday, March 26, Evergreen Erectors of Lynwood, had planned to disassemble and remove the crane from the site. A smaller crane would be delivered for continued steel work on the north end.
Jim McGillivray, superintendent for general contractor Graham Contracting of Seattle, said the milestone is important to the project.
“It’s an ironworker tradition,” McGillivray said. “As soon as that beam goes up, they’ve gotta party. The bowling alley will be busy tonight.”
As the “topping out beam” was hoisted, it was patriotically painted in red, white and blue. On one side of the beam the ironworkers had affixed Old Glory, and on the other end of the beam was a small evergreen tree to represent their company’s namesake, Evergreen Erectors.
Construction broke ground in October 2017. The steel work by Evergreen began some three weeks before the topping out beam was placed. The steel work was slightly behind schedule, initially expected to take about two and a half weeks. McGillivray said that was typical for any large project.
“We lost some time,” he said. “All it takes is one guy to miss one note and suddenly the whole thing is off.”
At the site, there were some 13 workers at any given time. As the project continues, there could be anywhere between 20 and 50 workers on site depending on the work being done.
The next milestone of the project is getting the roof in place.
“We want to get the roof on as fast as possible,” McGillivray said. “That’s the first part of dry in and once we get dry in we can start all of the interior work. It’s an important step in the whole thing.”
McGillivray said that when the steel work is done, the public will notice quick progress for both the roof and the exterior of the building. The project is targeting a completion date of February 2019.
McGillivray and Graham Contracting also built the Summit Pacific Medical Center main campus in 2011-2013. The main campus construction and the current construction of the wellness center have different challenges, he said.
“The soils up here are better than they were down there,” McGillivray said. “We quickly blew out our contingency down there because the soil was so bad.”
Having the same contractor for the wellness center has been beneficial, Summit Pacific cheif experience officer Lauri Bolton said.
“It’s been fabulous to have continuity with Jim as the site contractor,” she said.
Other than fewer parking spots at the main campus, it’s been “business as usual at the hospital,” Bolton said. “There have been roving parking impacts, but they’re working to get parking ready at the wellness center site to alleviate some of that.”
The scene was jovial during the topping out, with Summit Pacific staff excited to be on site surveying the equipment and taking pictures as the beam was welded into place.
“This is all fun, but the key is this is essential to our goal of creating access,” Bolton said.
Summit Pacific hopes to allow the public into the facility in March 2019 if everything keeps to its schedule.