Another major milestone has passed in the construction of the Joseph and Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre at VGH.
Laura Case, COO of Vancouver Community and Dr. Soma Ganesan, Vancouver’s Head of Mental Health were on hand to join the EllisDon construction crew in pouring the last slab of concrete to finish off the building’s external structure.
The practice, known as a “topping out”, is a proud moment for everyone involved as construction can now focus on the interior finish, including the cladding, the mechanical systems, the electrical systems, as well as plumbing.
Standing on what will become the rooftop gardens overlooking the Burrard Inlet, Laura and Dr. Ganesan explained how the design of the building will contribute to patients’ healing and therapy.
“It has been proven that elements such as space, light, colour, and noise can affect patient recovery in positive or negative ways,” said Laura. “It was of upmost importance to us that the design of the building demonstrates therapeutic patient centred care, and so we took into consideration various outputs, such as the amount of light in each room, quiet places for reading or meditating, fresh air, greenery and artwork to activate the senses.”
“Going to the top floor and participating in the final pouring brought me back to our time of raising awareness of how important environment is for mental health,” said Dr. Ganesan. “Looking out on our beautiful city I’m overwhelmed by the positive feeling that my patients will soon have a better place to heal. We are opening the door to a new chapter of better care and better working facilities for our staff.”
As Laura and Dr. Ganesan poured the last drops of concrete on the building, they took a cue from the Olympics Lucky Loonie legend and threw in a coin for good luck. “It’s a small token for good fortune and longevity for the people who enter this building,” said Dr. Ganesan.
Project manager, Paul O’Shaughnessy, explained that the practice of “topping out” a new building can be traced to the ancient Scandinavian religious rite of placing a tree atop a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits displaced in its construction. The tradition migrated to England and then on to the Americas and is still practiced in many countries today.