A construction worker, left, sits atop the structure of the Phoebe Digestive Disease Center on Meredyth Drive in Albany as the final beam is placed on the building during Thursday’s topping out ceremony. The building is expected to be completed next fall.
ALBANY — A medical facility that has already been several months in the making is continuing to see progress.
Officials celebrated the “topping out” of the Phoebe Digestive Disease Center on Thursday.
The center, which reflects a $30 million investment, is an 85,000-square-foot facility being built at 2701 Meredyth Drive at the site of the Meredyth Place complex and will expand Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s gastroenterology capabilities.
“Today we are here to mark a historic day,” said Jeff Flowers, vice president of operations at the hospital. “This represents a $30 million investment, which is a testament to Phoebe’s commitment to the community.”
In construction, a “topping out” is a ceremony held when the last beam is placed at the top of the building, at the overall completion of the building’s structure or at an intermediate point.
The construction project has drawn as many as 150 construction-related jobs, as well as the recruitment of gastroenterologists to help offset a physician shortage in that specialty.
The facility is expected to be complete by this time next year. Ground was broken in August.
“It seems like the last time we were here was a short time ago, when we were here for the groundbreaking,” said Mike Bumgardner, the facility’s senior project manager. “We are here to celebrate a milestone.
“We are also here to recognize the hard work to get to this point.”
The center is also being built to meet the needs of a growing prevalence of digestive diseases, particularly cancer of the stomach and colon in this region, officials say.
The architectural firm for this project is PageSoutherlandPage. The new facility is being built by Robins & Morton, a general contractor specializing in health care, commercial, education and industrial projects.
Eric Kuehmeier, associate principal at PageSoutherlandPage, said the facility will be unique in its own right.
“This is a one-of-a-kind facility,” he said. “It tops the list not just regionally, but nationally.”
Jed Baker, superintendent with Robins & Morton, had a message for the construction team at Thursday’s event.
“The foundation for this building should be here 100 years or longer,” he said. “You can bring your kids and grandkids here and say, ‘I worked on that building.’”
The center, originally called the Meredyth Gastrointestinal and Endoscopy Center, is being built in two phases.
More than half of the contracts let for the completion of the project have been awarded to local contractors, officials close to the construction process say. Of the 150 construction workers onsite to build the three-story facility, 60 to 70 percent of them are from the Albany area.