AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Maine General Medical Center has taken one big step closer to finishing its new hospital.
The hospital held its topping out ceremony Monday. It symbolizes that the building has reached its full height, and just about all of its structural steel is set.
The construction team hoisted a beam signed by workers, patients and others into place to "top out" the structure. An evergreen tree sat on the beam, symbolizing growth and good luck, and there was also an American flag on top.
Construction is six months ahead of schedule. Project Manager John Scott of contractor H.P. Cummings and Robins & Morton says a lot of the good time that crews have made is due to a new way of organizing things that's popular in the West Coast but hasn't been tried much here.
It's called "integrated project delivery," and it involves getting both the contractors and all the subcontractors together in one room to talk about how their pieces fit together before even one shovel is in the ground.
Scott said, "It brings all the players in early. Everybody has a stake in the game, and everybody's working towards a common goal of a better project as opposed to everyone just worrying about their own bottom line."
The 192-bed hospital is slated to open in December of 2013, 6 months ahead of schedule. If that happens, it's good news for the bottom line, too. MaineGeneral's CEO says it will save the hospital millions of dollars.