UTICA, N.Y. – This morning, the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) along with representatives from project partners Gilbane Building Company and Hammes, held a Topping Off ceremony to celebrate a major milestone in the placement of the final beam for the new regional medical center and completion of the steelwork. This milestone is commemorated by painting the beam white and having the steel erection crew, construction team, designers, owners and others sign the beam for posterity.

“This is such an exciting day for MVHS and this project as the framework for our new medical center is now finished,” said Darlene Stromstad, FACHE, MVHS president/CEO. “A spotlight has been shown on the healthcare field over the past year, and everyone has been feeling the stress and strain of the continued COVID-19 pandemic. The need for a state-of-the-art facility in our region is apparent and I think this project provides a beacon of hope for the future in these tough times. It’s so exciting to now see the frame of the new medical center and get a better idea for how it will look once it’s finished!”

Once the beam is ready to be placed, it is typically adorned with a small evergreen tree and an American flag on opposite ends of the beam. This custom celebrates the construction process and is viewed as the first introduction of the building to the public and it uniquely honors the accomplishments of the construction crew. MVHS has been working with Gilbane as its construction partner on the project and this is a significant milestone for their workers as well.

“This is a tremendous milestone for the new regional medical center,” said John LaRow, Vice President and Upstate New York Business Leader, Gilbane Building Company. “The completion of the steel structure is another step toward realizing a transformational new healthcare facility for the community. We’re grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with our project partners who have been relentlessly focused on delivering the highest quality construction. Our local trade partners and labor teams have committed themselves to safety and excellence which is evident in our progress to date.”

“It’s been a privilege to be part of this process for the last six years,” said Nancy Connolly, President of Hammes Healthcare. “Today’s topping off ceremony marks an important phase in bringing this project to reality, and being witness to the incredible impact it will have on the residents of Utica and the entire region.”

Work continues on the regional medical center with an expected completion date in early 2023.

“We have been progressing on this project as planned and are actually slightly ahead of schedule with the completion of the steelwork,” said Robert Scholefield, MS, RN, Executive Vice President of Facilities and Real Estate for MVHS. “One of the next steps in the construction of the new regional medical center is to start putting up the podium panels that will be the base for the brick on the bottom two floors. The exterior of the first two floors will be brick and the towers will be metal paneling. All of the paneling needed for the podium has been fabricated and is ready for delivery – another significant milestone!”

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Photo 3 caption: The Topping Off beam is placed.

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Photo 4 caption: The Topping Off beam is on its way to its final location.

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Photo 5 caption: The Topping Off beam awaits the ceremony.

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Photo 6 caption (pictured left to right): John LaRow, Vice President and Upstate New York Business Leader, Gilbane Building Company; Samantha Madison, Governor’s Representative, Mohawk Valley Region; RoAnn M. Destito, Commissioner of the Office of General Services; Robert Scholefield, MS, RN, Executive Vice President of Facilities and Real Estate for MVHS; and Darlene Stromstad, FACHE, President/CEO for MVHS, celebrate the final placement of the beam in the Topping Off Celebration.



About the MVHS Regional Medical Center

The new regional medical center is a 10-story (top floor is just for utilities), 703,000 square foot facility and central utility plant located on a 25-acre parcel adjacent to the Downtown Utica business district. The campus will also include the development of a parking garage, physician office building(s), support facilities, and a business center. The new medical center creates a structured delivery system to reduce gaps and inefficiencies in care coordination, eliminates duplication of services and improves ease of access with ample parking and centralized entrances. It will be a modern facility with private patient rooms, floor to ceiling windows

to enhance healing, flexibility to keep pace with rapidly changing technology and delivery models.

About Gilbane Building Company

Gilbane provides a full slate of construction and facilities-related services – from pre-construction planning and integrated consulting capabilities to comprehensive construction management, general contracting, design-build and facility management services – for clients across various markets. Founded in 1870 and still a privately held, family-owned company, Gilbane has more than 45 office locations worldwide.

Since 1949, Gilbane has been delivering construction services in New York State for clients across various market sectors including commercial office, multi-unit and high rise residential, cultural, education, healthcare, public sector, mission critical and science and technology. For more information, visit www.gilbaneco.com.


Media Contact: 
Caitlin McCann
VP, Communications and Marketing