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Howard Memorial Hospital Celebrates Construction Milestone


Date: January 18, 2013

Contact: Kristen McCallum
Marketing Specialist

Willits, CA - After only 13 working days, the steel structure of the new Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital (HMH) was erected. 
In celebration of this milestone, Howard Hospital and Howard Foundation executives, as well as members of the project team, signed 
a commemorative steel beam that was placed atop the structure in a tradition known as “Topping Out.” An American flag and a living redwood 
tree were clamped to the commemorative beam and all were lifted into place by a crane. The tree will later be planted on the new campus site.

“The reality of our new hospital is now framed in steel and concrete,” Rick Bockmann, CEO of Howard Hospital said. 
“It is so exciting to drive up to the site and see the shape of what our new hospital will look like when it opens in two years.”

Topping Out is an ancient Scandinavian religious practice of placing an evergreen tree on the top of a new building. 
The evergreen symbolized growth, ensured future prosperity, and indicated that the job was completed without the loss of life. 
The tradition continues today as a non-religious but formal ceremony to celebrate a milestone in the construction of a building.

In the upcoming months, the next phase will be less visually dramatic. Now that the steel is in place, the next focus will be on welding 
the beams into place and installing the underground slab and utilities. Although the project is currently two weeks behind schedule due 
to the heavy rains in November and December, Project Manager, Amy Ford is optimistic that this time can be recovered in the next couple of months.

Crews broke ground August 13, 2012 at the building site located at the corner of East Hill Road and Haehl Creek Drive at the south end of Willits. 
The two-story, 74,000 square foot hospital will be more than double the size of the current hospital.