A beam is a means of support, of strength. It’s what holds structures together.
When the final beam was raised for the new University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, that same showing of support and strength was evident. This time, however, it was present in the patients, families, faculty, staff, construction workers, donors, and community members who put the “finishing touches” on the beam before it was raised to the top of the building and put in place.
On April 15, a special, smaller beam was taken to patients and families inside UI Children’s Hospital for their signatures. This beam was raised to the top of the new UI Children’s Hospital on April 23, during a celebratory lunch for the entire construction crew. Pediatric patients watched this event from one of the hospital skywalks, while the crew waved their hard hats to the children.
More than 3,000 people added their names and messages to beams – in person and by sending their signatures through a virtual signing process online, which were then added to the beams – that would become permanent fixtures of the new UI Children’s Hospital. 1,005 virtual signatures from 13 states and Germany were placed on the beam by members of the UI Foundation Student Philanthropy Group.
Special “raise the beam” ceremonies marked the “topping off” of the new hospital building, celebrating the completion of the building’s core structure.
It’s just another part of the “wow experience” that is the new UI Children’s Hospital.
“The ‘wow experience’ is not a singular place or destination, but an overall feeling shaped by the shared compassion of the people who work here,” says Scott Turner, executive director of UI Children’s Hospital. “We are all excited about the new UI Children’s Hospital for what it will become, and the promise it holds to improve the health and well-being of the children we serve. Truth be told, it is the collective commitment and dedication of our faculty, staff, and construction team that brings the ‘wow experience’ to life each and every day.”
Patients, university and hospital leaders, patients, and families talked about what the new UI Children’s Hospital means for them, for the community, and for the state of Iowa.
Chris Denison and Stacy Van Gorp are the parents of twins, Maren and Berne, who were born seven weeks early and spent weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit in 2005. In addition to being premature and of low birthweight, both babies were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Now 10 years old, the twins battle their disease every day. They each spend 90 minutes a day in physical therapy, and Marin takes 308 pills and medications each week.
“Cystic fibrosis is a heavy burden,” Stacy says. “The disease never goes on vacation, and the treatments never get a day off. But we don’t carry that burden alone. We have the support of University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. And like the beam that’s being raised, the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital supports our family. It helps us withstand the weight of cystic fibrosis.”
View more photos from the raising the beam events at bit.ly/1GOPMrp.
View videos from the events: