Ryne Hastings, digital production specialist, Parkview Marketing Department, signs the final steel beam Friday for the Parkview Kosciusko Hospital project prior to the “topping out” ceremony. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Ryne Hastings, digital production specialist, Parkview Marketing Department, signs the final steel beam Friday for the Parkview Kosciusko Hospital project prior to the “topping out” ceremony. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.

A Scandinavian tradition marked a milestone in construction at Parkview Warsaw late Friday morning.

Parkview Warsaw is under construction to become the full-service Parkview Kosciusko Hospital when the project is completed in 2023.

The tradition - a “topping out” ceremony - observed on Friday included crew members from Weigand Construction securing the project’s final steel beam, which had been signed by Parkview Warsaw co-workers this past week. An evergreen tree in a pot also sat on the beam until the beam was put into place.

Before the beam was put into place, as part of the ceremony, Parkview Whitley Hospital and Parkview Warsaw President Scott Gabriel was one of three speakers.

He said, “This is an exciting time for us. As we continue to grow in this market, we continue to get through the building process.”

Speaking on research he did about topping out ceremonies, Gabriel said it’s an old tradition that dates back to the Vikings of Scandinavia.

“The purpose of the topping out ceremony is a significant milestone and isn’t necessarily started with the start or the end of a building construction. The ceremony is associated with the raising of the last beam, hence the name ‘topping out,’” he said. “Having a tree strapped to the beam signifies bringing life into the building and provides a positive omen for everyone involved in the construction project.”

Gabriel said it’s also considered a way to give blessings to those who work or receive care inside of the building.

“I think that’s really important to us, that blessing, because there are a lot of people that are going to be coming here in their most trying times of their life, so this blessing is very important to us as we move  forward,” he said.

He thanked the community “who embraced us and has helped us move and grow and be who we are today. Thank you to the patients who continue to ask us for more. We’re here because the patients wanted something from Parkview: They wanted our services, they wanted the quality of care we bring to this community. And a special thank you to our co-workers who come to work everyday giving us their best and giving the patients their best.

“I’m looking forward as we continue to move forward from being Parkview Warsaw to being Parkview Kosciusko Hospital.”

Parkview Whitley Hospital and Parkview Warsaw Board of Directors Chair Brad Voelz, a longtime Warsaw resident and the Republican candidate for county prosecutor, said, “Parkview is invested in Warsaw and Kosciusko County. And Parkview has invested with this beautiful new facility and caring professionals to fill it."

He said Parkview’s motto is “excellent care every person every day. And this investment will help Parkview to continue to provide that excellent and quality care to more and more people of our community every single day.”

Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Parker stated, “At the Chamber, our mission is to be the voice of our members to stimulate healthy and diverse business growth in our community. And, today, we’re standing at what that vision represents - the growth.”

He said the building will play a significant role in the community for years to come. It will enable Parkview to care “for our neighbors, our friends, our family in ways that were not imagined just a few years ago. This building will be home to some of life’s most precious memories, happiest times, but it’ll also be there to comfort them in the times of uncertainty and distress. Parkview Health - your dedication to this community and the professionalism of your staff is just absolutely awe-inspiring.”

Parker said he’s been amazed by the enormous range of capabilities and options that will be available in the new building.

“However, this new building doesn’t just represent excellent health care. It represents a commitment to a holistic approach in caring for our well-being. It also signals a commitment to this community to provide services and community support through education and prevention,” Parker said. “At the Chamber, we strongly believe that competition makes the world a better place with greater options for all of us. But there’s a word that I think describes what’s happening here just a little better. It’s called ‘coopetition.’”

Coopetition is when businesses compete and cooperate for the good of a community. Parker said this is especially helpful when it comes to human services.

“We need all of our health care and human service providers to work together for the collective good, but to never let go of their distinct competitive advantage,” Parker said.

He told Parkview Health that they’ve been an “excellent” leader in promoting community health and well-being.

“I know this new addition will enhance your efforts,” Parker said before congratulating Parkview on what they have achieved. “... I know that the healing that takes place here will impact this community for generations to come.”

The Rev. Mark Fishburn, PhD, chaplaincy, Parkview Health, then led everyone in a prayer to close out.

The 88,000-square-foot addition is on the west side of Parkview Warsaw, which is currently an 86,000-square-foot outpatient facility with a standalone emergency room. The $70 million investment will bring several high-demand services to the community, such as inpatient care, surgery and specialty clinics, including a satellite clinic for the Parkview Cancer Institute, according to a news release provided by Parkview.

After the ceremony, Gabriel talked about the new services the addition will provide.

“On the second floor ... that will actually be a surgery area and we’ll be building out two (operating rooms) with the ability to go to four. The next floor, the third floor, will be inpatient rooms. We’ll build with 28 rooms in there but we’ll only finish out 24 now to start. And then the first floor ... is all oncology services so we’ll have a rather robust oncology center,” he explained.

There will be the ability for Parkview to grow the facilities in the future.

“The third floor of the main building is currently pretty empty right now. We’ve only got a little portion of that used. We also have a physician group on the second floor of the existing building, which many times we can move physician services off-site so we can turn those into hospital services if we need to grow from here,” Gabriel said.

Parkview started with an emergency room in Warsaw, but it didn’t take long for Parkview to see the need to grow in the community.

“Just the volume of patients who come to the emergency room - a lot of those we’ve had to admit over to Whitley Hospital, so it’s just really that need that we saw once we came into the community. Patients kept asking us for more and more services, so that building was kind of a natural progression from that point,” Gabriel said.

The press release provided states that the new addition consists of four levels – three stories and a basement. The lower level will be home to cardiology and pulmonology, including rehab for both specialties, as well as nutrition services. The first floor will include the Parkview Cancer Institute satellite clinic, a pharmacy, diabetes education services, and an expansion of the current lab and emergency departments.

Gabriel estimated Parkview Kosciusko Hospital will open in August 2023. He said one of their greatest challenges now is staffing and they need additional staff, which will be a challenge as Parkview continues to grow in Warsaw.

The expansion is projected to create over 100 additional jobs. Individuals interested in joining the team now can view open positions at parkview.com/careers.