Topping out ceremony celebrates Carson Valley Health milestone

An iron worker guides a beam with the signatures into place at Carson Valley Health on Friday morning.

An iron worker guides a beam with the signatures into place at Carson Valley Health on Friday morning.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Carrying the signatures of workers, employees and dignitaries, a beam was placed as part of a topping out ceremony for the expansion of Carson Valley Health on Friday.

Gilbane Building Co. General Superintendent Doug Smith thanked all the trade workers who have had a hand in building the structure at Friday's ceremony.

“(A topping out ceremony) started years ago as a Scandinavian tradition,” he said. “The tree is to placate the spirits we disturbed when we came here and knocked down the trees and pushed the dirt around. I don’t know about that, but I sure do feel the spirit here today with this operation going on.”

The ceremony was as much for the concrete workers, iron workers, plumbers, electricians and helpers, as much as for the hospital.

“This topping of the last structural member recognizes the spirit of the architects, engineers, consultants subconsultants and all those who contributed,” Smith said.

The hospital has been working on a $55 million expansion since ground broke in fall 2021.

Chief Executive Officer Jeff Prater said he has been watching from his window as the structure has risen from the ground.

The Gardnerville hospital is celebrating 30 years since it first opened.

Prater pointed out that the paint around the sign was original.

“We should buy that paint,” he said. “Carson Valley Health marks the beginning of a new and exciting time for growth — moving mountains to provide state of the art care for the people we serve in Carson Valley.”

Prater said that the expansion will provide the hospital with much-needed room.

“When I first got here, I asked ‘what is it you need,’ and the ER all said together, ‘more space,’” he said. “Given the historic record number of patients we’ve had, it couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Work on the hospital should conclude sometime next year.

Opening in December 1993 as Carson Valley Medical Center, it originally offered urgent care and a physicians clinic.

In 1995, the surgery department was added, and the urgent care became a 24/7 emergency department. CareFlight joined the CVMC campus in 2000, the same year Renown joined in partnership with Barton.

In 2004, it became a critical access hospital, initially opening with 15 beds. An ICU was added, and the hospital expanded to 23 beds, which it still has today.

Since the hospital opened, Carson Valley Health has added two rural health clinics with walk-in appointments and sliding scale fee structure so patients can always access healthcare. Additionally, there is a specialty clinic, senior care clinic, and a primary care clinic. Stretching from Minden to the north, and Topaz Ranch to south, the hospital offers services to patients from Fernley and Fallon to Bishop.


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