Mercy holds beam-signing ceremony

Residents of New Hampton took advantage of the opportunity to make their marks on history on Tuesday.

People of all ages ventured out among the bitter northeast wind to sign their names on a metal support beam that will eventually be installed into the Mercy Medical Center-New Hampton hospital. Instead of a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the “beam-signing” event was a creative way to celebrate a $6 million project that will lead to a safer and more secure emergency department, single-patient rooms and a new reception and medical records area. 

Mercy public relations coordinator Jennifer Monteith compared it to a time capsule, and suggested that perhaps 100 years from now, when a new hospital is built or the current one renovated, those future New Hampton residents will see the names of the citizens of today.

“We thought this would be a really neat and different way to celebrate our project,” Monteith said last week. “I think the workers and the hospital workers at that time are going to be in for a really nice surprise. Everyone who signs it can say, in a way, that they’re part of the remodeling project, and they’ll have a signature to prove it.”

A stream of people of all ages, including classes of grade-school students, grabbed Sharpies and scribbled names on the beam from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Some wondered aloud if the future people of New Hampton, 100 years from now, would be able to read cursive.

“It’s becoming a lost skill,” one signee laughed. “This might be the last generation that learns cursive writing. The people who see this might need a translator.”

“Or maybe a really old retired teacher,” another signee replied.

Cursive wasn’t on the minds of the initial group of first and second graders, who arrived shortly after 10 a.m. The young people seemed delighted to print their names on the beam, in the hope that someone might see them a century from now.

Inside, away from the cold wind, cookies, donuts, coffee and punch were available in the cafeteria, and residents could look at floor plans for the renovations. Staffers were there to answer questions the public might have, and hospital and community officials gathered there for a presentation before all the beam-signing started.


For more of this article, see Friday's New Hampton Tribune.

New Hampton Tribune

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New Hampton, IA 50659
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