Gretna, VA- Saturday's wet weather didn't stop dozens of people in Gretna from celebrating a pretty big milestone; their newly expanded medical center.
The new Centra facility has been undergoing construction since June, and Saturday marked the end of the steel development of the building.
Folks got to see the last steel beam put into place, and getting to see that was a cause for celebration. It means Gretna is one step closer to having quicker access to healthcare. That's something residents say has been a long time coming.
It's been in the works since last summer, and now the new 50,000 square foot medical center in Gretna is starting to take shape. A crowd was on hand, to witness a piece of history; the last steel beam installed.
"As you place the final beam into its designed area it brings together strength. Each of these beams in and of themselves really don't bring the skeleton or the bones or the bones of this facility to the strength that is needs to be,"E.W. Tibbs, President and CEO of Centra.
The last beam looked a little more colorful than the rest.
"The last beam intentionally has thousands of signatures on it and it's really meant to symbolize the community strength and the community support," said Tibbs.
Support is something Centra said they've felt from the Gretna community since the inception of the idea of a new medical center.
"We need this facility bad in Gretna. We've got to come all the way to Lynchburg or Danville. When you have an emergency, time of essence, when you have a heart attack or a stroke or something like that," said Leonard Bailess, a Gretna resident.
"What's behind us is going to be a game changer for the community," said Keith Motley, Mayor of Gretna. "It's going to mean that medical services that we've never had or only envisioned are going to be here and they're going to be at our fingertips and they're going to accessible to us 365 days a year 24/7. That's life changing. If you put it in a child's perspective it's as good as Santa Claus coming."
The new medical center will have an emergency department, CT scanner, a wellness center, a physical therapy gym, as well as imaging and laboratory services.
It will cost $28 million. Centra said construction will wrap up in December.