Commuters along state Route 315 would be remiss to notice the construction going on at Riverside Methodist Hospital. What they wouldn’t notice is a man with a daily view fit for a king.
To get to his office, Jay Rhodes must climb for 25 minutes, straight up the metal tower of the hospital.
“I go up in the mornings, I never go back down until quitting time,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes’ position is not easily replaced and days off are hard to come by.
“No, you can’t go down to the work force center and get somebody to fill in for you that day,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes said the work he does is not exactly brain surgery. But when the project is complete, the OhioHealth Neuroscience Center will perform brain operations.
“It’s like a video game, just a bigger scale,” Rhodes said. “You got two joysticks (that) control it. You got a lot of sway you got to account for. A lot of back and forth.”
Rhodes deftly drops his hook into tight places and with the ability to move 23,000-pound chunks of steel and concrete.
Day by day, Rhodes and his crane help piece together what will house 224 new private rooms for hospital patients. With great patience and precision, the puzzle comes together.
In his job, dense fog and gusty winds play office politics. He has horror stories about battling the elements.
“The computer starts screaming and bells start ringing,” Rhodes said. “You wanna leave, but you can’t go down. Hell, you wanna be on a ladder rung at 70 mph winds? I’d just as soon stay up there and ride it out.”
Rhodes said that working 10, 12 and 14 hour says has its perks.
“You’re up here, nobody messes with you,” Rhodes said. “I’ve had nobody ever climb up the tower and give me hell about anything.”
His perch is not without modern conveniences.
“We’ve got a microwave and a refrigerator and a toaster oven and a food shelf where we stock food,” Rhodes said.”You live up there, you know.”
Living in the sky for hundreds of thousands of hours over his 36 years in a crane, he sees everything..
“You can see parts of I-270,” Rhodes said. “You can see Polaris.”
Riverside will never look the same. Dominated by the new center on the way a rendering of the finished product shows the largest project of any kind in the history of OhioHealth. An addition bigger than the entire existing campus.
But it's not the instant gratification of seeing a building go up that pleases Rhodes.
At the end of the day, Rhodes climbs down with the satisfaction of a hard day’s work for his company and pride for his country
“That makes me feel good to look out there and see that flag,” Rhodes said, gazing on an American flag. “It's usually standing straight out, waving.”
When Rhodes is finished, his crane will be broken down and he will move on while the other crane on the site will be built right into the hospital structure until the heavy framework is complete.
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