COLUMBUS, Neb. -- The Columbus Community Hospital Wellness Center held a beam signing Tuesday morning, with city and area leaders coming out in support of the new field house.

Columbus community members and staff from the Columbus Community Hospital joined together for an update on the field house construction as well as signing a beam that will be placed within the center. 

Michael Hansen, CCH president and CEO, said that the project is set to be completed in 15 months - by 2024.

"The Field House Project started back in 2018," Hansen said. "The board approved the project in December of 2019, and we started the process. In May of '20 we had to shut the project down due to the COVID pandemic."

Hansen said the project's construction started back up in October 2021. He also said that the project is on time and on budget, and is expected to be done at the end of 2023 with opening in January of 2024. 

"The beam signing today was really important," Hansen said. "We feel like this is a community project and we want everybody to have access to this facility, and it be affordable to everybody."

He said that he wants it to be a part of the community, and the beam signing was to engage the community and let them be a part of the project.

Scott Messersmith, CCH VP of Operations and HR, said, "Our goal is to keep people out of the hospital."

He said that even though their job is to care for people, the wellness center is to keep people active and out of the hospital. 

The field house will give the community a place to walk during the winter, Messersmith said.

Messersmith also said the new facility is a $55 million construction project. 

Jeff Gokie, Chair of the CCH Board of Directors, said the new athletic center is about community and bringing the community together, no matter the age, as well as those with or without families.

Gokie said he hopes that everybody finds a place within the wellness center's new field house facility.