On a bitterly cold Jan. 3, many hearts warmed as a crane hoisted a 60-foot beam in place on the new Baptist Crittenden hospital. The Topping Out ceremony marked a hard construction milestone, symbolizing the progress made to date at the site.
Slated for completion in late 2018, the hospital expects to welcome the first patients in early 2019. Brian Welton, Baptist Crittenden’s CEO and administrator, welcomed the crowd. “It’s an exciting day for Baptist and Crittenden County.”
Baptist struck a deal with Crittenden County in 2014, offering to build a new facility instead of reopening the former Crittenden County Regional Hospital. Residents in the county overwhelmingly voted to support the new hospital through a county tax. When open, Baptist leaders expect 25,000 ER patients a year to seek care at the hospital.
Prior to the ceremony, locals had the chance to sign beam, which was placed in front of the Crittenden County courthouse in December.