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Carilion Clinic crane goes up, marking start of Crystal Spring Tower construction

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 7:51 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A 240-foot crane is going up at Roanoke Memorial Hospital Thursday and Friday. It represents the beginning of construction at Carilion’s Crystal Spring Tower Site.

When fully complete, this red crane will be 240 feet tall from the ground level.

“If you drive downtown, you can actually see this tower crane being erected, so it is signifying the start of construction for a lot of people who didn’t really know it is was here, but now driving down 220 you can see the crane coming up and signifying the project is well underway,” Josh Farr, Superintendent of Robins & Morton/Branch Builds, said.

The 500,000-square-foot site will hold the Cardiovascular Institute, 64 new patient rooms, and a relocated and expanded emergency room.

“At our peak, we had over 130 COVID patients in our hospital. That’s certainly reduced down significantly, but it made us rethink the size of our hospital and community beds we have available, and this is certainly going to help with that,” Marty Misicko, Vice President of Carilion in charge of facilities and construction, said.

The crane helping build the tower is the second tallest structure in town, only beaten by the Wells Fargo building. But with that height come helicopter safety concerns.

“Which was a lot of coordination with Carilion’s safety department and making sure we’re communicating with the helicopters as they come in and out,” Farr said.

Other challenges with this project included seeing a delay in items during the pandemic.

“Lumber, copper, steel, even concrete, and other building materials,” Sam Burnette, Principal in Charge of the architectural firm ESa, which has design oversight of the Crystal Spring Tower, said.

But despite challenges, Carilion construction is pushing forward, on time.

“It’s happening, and I think everybody in the neighborhood is excited about it,” Misicko said.

There will be temporary closures on McClanahan Street and Jefferson Street as construction crews put utilities underground over the next few months. The red crane will be up for another two years, and construction on the Crystal Spring Tower will continue through 2025.

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