By RORYE O’CONNOR
MT. VERNON — —
Prospective patients and staff alike agree — the new Good Samaritan hospital is “exciting” and “beautiful.”
As many 2,000 people attended the open house and guided tour at the new Good Samaritan Regional Health Center campus on Saturday.
Staff members were on hand to guide those attending through the halls of the five-floor, 359,000 square foot facility, including the attached Medical Plaza building. The public got the opportunity to see areas that are normally off-limits, such as operating rooms, catheterization labs and more.
The doors opened to the open house 25 minutes early because so many people were lined up to get a look inside, said Victoria Woodrow, Good Samaritan Regional Health Center PR/marketing director.
Phyllis Braddock, Good Samaritan director of revenue integrity, said the words she kept hearing from those taking the tour were “beautiful, big and spacious.”
“I think the community is happy with what they’re seeing,” she said. “I know I am. It’s such an asset to the community and the whole service area. I feel blessed. Being able to serve them in this way is what I think our hospital’s mission is all about.”
She added that the healing part of that mission can be seen in the soothing art spread throughout the hospital, in patient rooms, hallways and secluded family lounges.
The art, much of it from local artists, includes nature photography as well as nature-themed ceramics and large wind chimes on a bell tower.
Janis Strickland, an education consultant and registered nurse, said there is more stained glass featured on the walls of the hospital as well. Donated by the Sisters of Saint Mary, the “very old” stained glass pieces are backlit and highlighted throughout the hospital.
Dawn Collier is the director of the procedure center, where patients receive pre-cardiac catheterization, pre-invasive procedure care and undergo simple outpatient procedures.
She said those taking the tours walk into the building with awe on their faces.
However, staff members are pretty excited about moving into the new facility at the end of the month as well.
Brenda Simpson, an OB nurse, said her department is expanding from four to 13 surgery rooms.
“As a nurse, my response when I look down the hall and see 13 beds is, I almost want to cry,” she said. “I want to be able to take care of our gynecological patients and our post-partum moms. Now it’s like we have room at the inn.
“I’m just so excited. It’s almost like waiting for Christmas.”
The $237 million facility broke ground in April 2010 and was built by McCarthy Building Companies of St. Louis, Lipps Construction of Mt. Vernon and Shores Builders of Centralia.
The dedication of the new facility is scheduled for 11 a.m. today, and patient move-in is planned for Jan. 20.