Bronson Cancer Pavilion Project 'Tops Out'

Published on November 08, 2019

Bronson Cancer Pavilion Project 'Tops Out'

Cancer Pavilion Framework with beam being lifted by crane


November 8th marked a construction milestone in the development of the new Cancer Pavilion at Bronson Methodist Hospital in downtown Kalamazoo. On that day, the final beam of steel was raised and put in place atop the structure signaling the completion of the steel framework for the new facility. This tradition, called ‘Topping Out’, is a custom among iron workers around the world and is a signal that a structure has reached its full height.

The framework for the Bronson Cancer Pavilion contains 1,067 pieces of structural steel weighing 1,451,276 pounds. It was assembled by 16 ironworkers on site; 32 more fabricated the steel off site.

At 1 p.m. on Friday, the final beam was lifted by a crane with an evergreen tree and an American flag attached to it. Covering the beam were hundreds of signatures of cancer care providers, Bronson employees, board members and community donors along with those of tradespeople who have worked on the construction project. (Click here for event photos from our Facebook page)

Frank Sardone, president and CEO of Bronson Healthcare, says, “We are very proud to be investing in the future of cancer care in our region and bringing to life a state-of-the-art healing environment that fully supports patients and families throughout their cancer journey. We thank all who have offered their time, talent and financial support to help us advance the quality of cancer care available to the thousands of people whose lives it touches each year.”

The five-story, 85,000 sq. ft. Bronson Cancer Pavilion stands on the southeast corner of Vine and John Streets, directly across from the Medical Office Pavilion and Vine Street Parking Ramp at Bronson Methodist Hospital. It will provide medical oncology, hematology, and infusion services for adult patients on an outpatient basis and is targeted to open in January, 2021. Upon completion, the Bronson Healthcare system will be able to offer adult patients two major destinations for cancer care – the well-established Bronson Cancer Care Center - Battle Creek and the new Cancer Pavilion in Kalamazoo. Within these locations, patients and their families will be supported in their cancer journey by a care team working in unison through a coordinated plan of care. Bronson’s regional program is expected to include medical oncology, hematology, infusion, diagnostics, genetics, complex surgery, support services, survivorship, palliative care, nutrition counseling, and healthy living activities. It will also focus on cancer prevention and risk factor reduction through collaboration and community partnerships.

Planning for the new Cancer Pavilion began last year after it was determined that medical oncology, hematology, and infusion services currently located at the West Michigan Cancer Center, would be transitioning back to the partner hospitals’ campuses. This move allows for each patient to have their cancer care coordinated within one health system along with their other healthcare needs. Having all visits documented and managed collaboratively by providers in one electronic health record further enhances quality of care and is more efficient and cost effective.

Cancer care for pediatric patients continues to be delivered at Bronson Children’s Hospital on the inpatient unit, and, for outpatients, at Bronson Pediatric Hematology/Oncology clinic.

About the Topping Out Tradition:

Photo of the final steal beam to be placed on top of Bronson's new cancer pavilion.The tradition of Topping Out dates back more than 1,000 years to the time of the Vikings who upon completion of their high homes, called mead halls, would hoist an evergreen to the ridge pole in celebration. In modern times, as iron and steel replaced timber as primary building tools, the Norseman’s custom was carried forward by the Ironworkers’ trade. Today, the evergreen atop the beam has come to symbolize that a job went up without any loss of life and is said to bring good luck to the building’s future occupants. In the United States, the flag was added in the 1920’s as a demonstration of Ironworkers’ loyalty to country and pursuit of the American Dream.