By Caroline Watkins for the Missourian
A “topping out” party was thrown Thursday for CenterPointe Hospital, the 72-bed psychiatric hospital under construction in north Columbia.
Topping out marks a milestone in the hospital’s construction process, when the last beam is placed on the building. The $21-million hospital is on track to open in October.
Among the guests who attended the party were CenterPointe CEO Buddy Turner, Mayor Brian Treece and his wife, Mary Phillips. Some of those present signed their names on the last beam.
Ground was broken for the 56,000-square-foot hospital in February 2017. It sits on 12 acres near the intersection of Range Line Street and International Drive.
CenterPointe Hospital will offer an array of services for adults and adolescents with psychiatric disorders, including mental health and substance abuse needs.
Turner said specialists will come from around the country because of a shortage of qualified people in Missouri. Fewer than 40 percent of Missouri counties have licensed psychiatrists, according to a Hospital Industry Data Institute report.
Treece said CenterPointe will provide a valuable service for those in Columbia who need psychiatric care.
“For too long in Columbia, we’ve had a shortage of adolescent treatment beds,” Treece said. “It’s really going to fill an important gap in our treatment here in Columbia.”
He also noted how important the Columbia facility is for adolescents who struggle with mental health issues.
“You can look all across the country and recognize the mental health challenges that today’s kids face,” Treece said. “With tragedies like Parkland, we have to have facilities like CenterPointe to cooperate with law enforcement and first-responders to give those kids a safe place to be stabilized and asses their treatment options.”
Turner said that the construction of the building has run smoothly, despite a rainy spring reason.
During the ceremony, a cedar tree and an American flag were raised on a crane and placed at the top of the building for good luck.
“We throw this event on a lot of our jobs just to celebrate the guys and all the hard work they put in,” said Jason Casteel, project manager with DeAngelis Diamond construction company.
“The tree is really something that started hundreds of years ago,” Casteel said. “When you get to that final floor, that last piece of steel, just put it in to signify that you’ve gotten to the top.”
In addition to the opening ceremony, Lutz’s BBQ was served to the construction workers and a raffle was held. Workers had the chance to win items from a grill to a Vizio television.
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