BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Progress continues to be made on the new Hardt Foundation Tower at Mercy Hospital Southwest.

The first piece of steel for the Hardt Foundation Tower has been placed, according to officials.

Hospital officials say this is an important milestone that has been made possible by the generosity of the community, adding that the interior of the hospital has been under construction for more than a year to create the necessary infrastructure to support the new four-story, 106-bed patient care tower.

The community has donated more than $15,000,000 toward the project, and Mercy Hospital employees have donated more than $400,000.

The area around Mercy Hospital Southwest is projected to grow by seven percent in the next five years.