Special to UM News
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 23, 2015) — Eleven months after The Lennar Foundation Medical Center, home of UHealth at Coral Gables, broke ground on the University of Miami’s Gables campus, construction on the 200,000-square-foot facility came to a stop — but only briefly. The occasion was to observe the traditional “topping off” ceremony, held when the uppermost portion of a building is put into place.
On Friday, November 20, the large crane at the site of the five-story building hoisted a small pine tree and American flag to the rooftop, “topping off” what will be the first presence of UHealth – University of Miami Health System on the Coral Gables campus.
More than 155 construction workers were treated to a celebratory lunch and raffle of several gift cards. Over the past year, they have worked to build the state-of-the-art medical center that will offer specialty care by the renowned Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, ranked the No. 1 eye hospital in the nation for the past 12 years, along with outpatient surgery, men’s and women’s health, sports medicine, physical therapy, diagnostic imaging, radiation oncology, and other UHealth subspecialties.
Addressing the construction crew, Ben Riestra, chief administrative officer of The Lennar Foundation Medical Center, said they had set the building blocks for a health care destination. “You are creating an iconic building where we will deliver the most targeted therapies to UHealth patients. This facility allows us to do that to an entirely new group, including you and your families.”
Augustin R. Arellano, chairman of OHL-Arellano Construction, which is building the Coral Gables facility, remarked on the positive feedback he hears about the site and the work being done.
“So many people are talking about this great project and that is all because of you,” he said. “I congratulate and thank you for that.”
The luncheon took place on the third floor, which will be home to UHealth Sports Medicine and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute services. Framing on the second floor for the outpatient surgical suites is well underway, and rough plumbing and electrical systems are being put into place. Following the luncheon, guests and the construction crew were able to sign an interior wall, effectively marking the occasion.
The Coral Gables facility is scheduled to open late 2016.