By Dawn Krebs
PORT ST. LUCIE - Just seven months into breaking ground, Traditional Medical Center held a topping-out ceremony in Port St. Lucie on Oct. 30.
The highlight of the celebration was placing the building's final beam at the top of the hospital. The beam traveled the city, receiving signatures from hospital employees, as well as patients of Martin Health System.
"It is exciting to watch this hospital take shape," said Mark Robitaille, president of Martin Health System. "We are grateful to everyone who has partnered with us on this project."
The hospital is expected to sit on 20 acres of land near Torrey Pines and the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute in Tradition. It will have more than 200,000 square feet of space and open with 90 beds, with the possibility of expanding to up to 300 beds.
The new hospital is also expected to generate 400 jobs by the time the facility opens, with recruitment for those jobs beginning the middle of next year.
Part of its medical goals is to be part of ongoing research at the nearby facilities.
"The community has been very fortunate to have all the elements come together here," said Guillermo Abesada-Terk, medical director of clinical research for Martin Health Center. "Research is critical to our efforts."
Dr. Abesada-Terk spoke to the crowd of more than 100 people about recent cancer clinical trials and various cancer research the medical center has been a part of with its new neighbors.
"We are trying to bridge what we do in the laboratory to what we do bedside," he said. "We have an incredibly dedicated team."
"It's coming along," said Scott Samples, public information coordinator for Martin health Systems. "We broke ground in March, and we anticipate completion by the end of 2013, with the finish date in January 2014."