Leaders with Baptist Health, Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s Hospital celebrated a major construction milestone for the new Baptist Jacksonville Entry Building/Wolfson Children’s Critical Care Tower with a “Topping Out” Ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.
During the Topping Out Ceremony, construction crew members ceremoniously raised the final structural beam to the top of the Tower. Baptist Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s team members were able to leave their mark by signing banners that were attached to the beam. To follow COVID-19 precautions, the event was livestreamed.
Topping out ceremonies, which have long been a tradition for new Baptist Health buildings, originated in Europe and are one of the oldest customs in construction. Today, topping out symbolizes a celebration of the skills of the ironworkers who have brought us to this point in construction. A flag bearing the Wolfson Children’s Hospital and Baptist Jacksonville logos was attached to the beam raised Wednesday as a symbol of what’s to come.
“This has been a trying year for everyone, but our team members at Baptist Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s never wavered in their commitment to providing excellent care to patients throughout the pandemic,” said Brett McClung, FACHE, president and CEO of Baptist Health. “This beam is a symbol of hope for the future. By providing world-class care for the entire family, beginning before birth and continuing throughout life, this new building will bring us one step closer to our vision of a lifetime of health, together.”
When complete, the Tower will be the new “front door” for Baptist Health’s downtown Jacksonville campus. A skybridge, which opened in October 2020, will connect patients directly from the P2 parking garage to the new building’s second-floor lobby. Currently, the skybridge provides safe passage to patients and team members from the P2 parking garage to a temporary staircase on the opposite side of Palm Avenue, close to the current entrance.
“This new entrance building will completely reorient our flagship medical center,” said Michael A. Mayo, FACHE, president of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville. “Once open to the public, this entryway will join all areas of Baptist Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s, as well as connect patients and visitors to the outstanding caregivers and world-class services available at our downtown campus.”
The Wolfson Children’s Critical Care Tower will be comprised of five floors dedicated to pediatric critical care, including a 92-bed high-level Neonatal Intensive Care Center as well as a 35-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Each room will feature a private bathroom and can comfortably sleep two parents.
“Every aspect of the Critical Care Tower was designed with patients and families in mind,” said Michael D. Aubin, FACHE, president of Wolfson Children’s Hospital. “Along with state-of-the-art technology, we are maximizing natural light, which is proven to promote healing in infants and children, as well as postpartum mothers. The Tower will also integrate with Baptist Jacksonville’s high-risk obstetrics and neonatal delivery center and provide excellent care to families for decades to come.”