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Ceremony marks milestone for construction of new Stanford Hospital

The structural phase of the hospital’s construction is now complete. The new 824,000-square-foot- building is scheduled to open in early 2018.

- By Ruth Schechter

Amir Dan Rubin, CEO of Stanford Health Care, speaks at the "topping off" ceremony for the new hospital on March 23.
Norbert von der Groeben

A two-ton steel beam was hoisted into place atop the framework of the new Stanford Hospital on March 23, marking the symbolic completion of the structural phase of its construction.

More than 400 physicians, staff, community members, political representatives, donors and volunteers were on hand for the “topping off” ceremony, watching as a crane lifted the 30-foot beam and as iron workers carefully positioned it into place.

The beam had been painted white and placed by the front entrance of the current hospital a week earlier so that patients, visitors, hospital staff and construction workers could sign their names and share their sentiments. It was strewn with an estimated 2,000 signatures, and an American flag and small pine tree were tied on top. Placing a tree atop a building’s final beam is a long-standing tradition that traces back to medieval Europe.

“This building represents a whole new approach to health care, not just in design but in the patient experience,” said Amir Dan Rubin, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care. “It will become a beacon of hope that will connect, treat, care and heal.”

Workers lower the ceremonial beam into place, marking the symbolic end of the structural phase of the hospital's construction.
Norbert von der Groeben

Scheduled to open to patients in early 2018, the new 824,000-square-foot building will increase patient capacity, add 368 private rooms and modernize services. The new hospital will feature an enlarged level-1 trauma center and an emergency department more than twice the size of the current one. When completed, the building will be one of the most seismically safe hospitals in the country, able to continue operations after an 8.0, or “great,” earthquake. The existing hospital building, which will continue to be used for patient care, will connect to the new one via above-ground and underground walkways.

“Stanford Medicine is a complex enterprise with one simple truth: to relieve human suffering and provide hope,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. “We are aligning, articulating and driving our vision of patient-centered, technologically advanced care. This is the field of precision health — proactive, preemptive solutions and precise, individualized care. Today’s milestone is a clear manifestation of that vision and one step further to the fulfillment of that dream.”

By the close of the event, more than 75 construction crew workers had lined up along the edge of the structure’s second floor. Bert Hurlbut, vice president of construction for the new Stanford Hospital, acknowledged the dedication of the project tradesmen, who received a standing ovation from the crowd.

“Generations will come to this hospital and benefit from our hard work today,” said John Levin, chair of the board of directors of Stanford Health Care. “It is a model of what health care can and will be, and will serve the community and world for decades to come.”

Stanford Medicine integrates research, medical education and health care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics), and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. For more information, please visit the Office of Communication & Public Affairs site at http://mednews.stanford.edu.

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