Valdosta Daily Times

November 17, 2012

SGMC tops out patient tower

Kay Harris
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Although Friday morning was chilly, drizzly and overcast, the mood at South Georgia Medical Center couldn’t have been sunnier, as the final beam was signed to “top out” the new Dasher Memorial Heart Center & Patient Tower.

SGMC CEO Randy Sauls said the topping-out party marked a milestone in the project, the largest construction project in the history of SGMC.

The five story tower will include the Dasher Heart Center, three cath labs, outpatient areas and 96 private patient rooms. The 130,000 square foot building will cost $67 million to construct and equip, and is expcted to be ready for SGMC to begin moving in by July 2013.

Will Rogers with Robins & Morton, the building’s general contractor, gave a history of the term “topping-out,” which includes the placement of a tree on the crane, which signifies that no one was injured in the construction process.

Rogers acknowledged all of the companies who are jointly working on the project, including Rountree Construction, Reames Concrete, Valdosta Electric, Erickson and Assoc., Brooks Welding, and Gresham and Smith architects.

Rogers also thanked the many workers and their dedication, including the female crane operator who is on the job long hours every day. Kaliope Fatolitis, or “Poppy,” works for Amquip, the crane company, and Rogers said she’s excellent at what she does.

“I’ve never been on such a great job before,” he said.

James Lee Herndon, chairman of the SGMC Foundation, presented foundation director Elizabeth Vickers and SGMC board members with a check for $1,000,000, marking the halfway point in the three-year capital campaign, “Stories of Healing.” The money came from many donors, and brings the total raised so far to $2.3 million of the $4.1 million goal.

Herndon said since the Dasher Heart Center opened, in 10 years, more than 30,000 heart procedures have been performed.  A host of SGMC and local dignitaries then signed the final steel beam to be placed at the top of the tower, signifying that the highest part of the job is now complete.