Construction firm Robins & Morton, McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, and Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority (CIHA) staff members gathered on Oct. 19 in Cherokee, North Carolina, to mark the topping out of a new long-term care facility, the Tsali Care Center, devoted to the care of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI).
Joining Robins & Morton Superintendent Josh Farr in sharing remarks during the ceremony were Sonya Wachacha, chair of CIHA’s Long-Term Care Committee, and Michell Hicks, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The ceremony was held just one day shy of the one-year anniversary of the groundbreaking for the facility.
“When I think about the future of this building and what it means, it kind of hits me heavy in the heart that, again, we’ve got a place that we can truly take care of our people,” Hicks said.
The topping out ceremony celebrates a building’s structural completion through the installation of a final element, such as a steel beam, and recognizes the hard work of the construction professionals to reach the milestone. In this case, the final element was a metal truss signed by many members of the EBCI at the recent Cherokee Indian Fair.
Adjacent to Cherokee Indian Hospital, the 135,000-square-foot Tsali Care Center will stand two stories and consist of 120 private rooms. The facility will house skilled nursing, assisted living, and memory care units, in addition to a dialysis center.
The new building replaces an existing facility approximately three miles away. The move allows CIHA to increase bed capacity by 50 and to further consolidate CIHA services closer to the hospital’s campus, supporting the care continuum.
Once complete in fall 2024, the Tsali Care Center will feature five courtyards as well as communal dining spaces. This project represents a $120 million investment by CIHA.
Robins & Morton is serving as the general contractor and McMillan Pazdan Smith is the architect. This is the fifth project that Robins & Morton has built for the CIHA since 2014.
“We’re grateful to have reached this critical milestone, thanks to the hard work of the trade contractors on this project,” Farr said. “We know that this building will make a tremendous impact on healthcare in this community once it’s complete, and we can’t wait to turn over the keys next year.”