Officials stand in front of The Memorial Hospital's new facility west of town. Robins & Morton is the project's general contractor. From left are project superintendent Rob Kerns, TMH facilities supervisor Dave Mucha and assistant project superintendent Barry Rodgers.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Officials stand in front of The Memorial Hospital's new facility west of town. Robins & Morton is the project's general contractor. From left are project superintendent Rob Kerns, TMH facilities supervisor Dave Mucha and assistant project superintendent Barry Rodgers.

Hospital on budget and ahead of schedule

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Project superintendent Rob Kerns presents the hospital's new conference room. The room can be split into three sections and provide overflow seating for food service, as well.

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The atrium of the new hospital is 28 feet high and features a gas fireplace. The new hospital uses space more efficiently and focuses on private and secure patient care.

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Facilities supervisor Dave Mucha, of TMH, describes features of the new hospital. The new hospital will have 3,000 square feet more than the old building and feature advanced technology for more efficient patient care.

The vinyl tile is being laid, and some areas of The Memorial Hospital's new building is being painted a soft yellow-beige.

Wires hang loose from empty light sockets, but the $42.6 million hospital is no longer the skeleton of a project: it is 75 percent of the way to being a functional patient-care facility.

"The key phrase is, 'Is it on schedule, and is it on budget?" said George Rohrich, TMH chief executive officer. "The hospital is ahead of schedule and under budget, so it's going very well so far."

The hospital, off of Moffat County Road 7 west of Craig, was originally set to be finished by the beginning of December, but that day has been moved up to mid-November. That estimation is a moving target, Rohrich said.

Facilities supervisor Dave Mucha said he was pleased with the work of the construction crews.

"We have a good construction company and good subcontractors," Mucha said. "There haven't been a lot of delays."

With any construction project, there are hang-ups and minor problems, but Mucha has been on site every day inspecting the progress, trying to catch minor problems early before they become major ones.

"It really has to do with how the on-site team manages the process," he said. "And they've been doing a really good job. When it's all finished and we have the open house, I think people are going to be real happy with what they see."

Time for a change

The current hospital on Russell Street is nearing its 60th birthday.

Rohrich said the building was designed in a different time period medically, and he wants the new hospital to reflect an ever-changing approach to patient care.

The new hospital boasts about 3,000 square feet more that the old hospital and uses the space in an efficient manner, the CEO said.

"Everything in the hospital will be new," Rohrich said. "There is a focus on creating a healing atmosphere. It's quieter, it'll be family friendly. The rooms are big enough for family to visit and remain for long periods of time"

Patients and visitors are greeted by warm colors and an atrium stretching up to a peak at 28 feet. There are gas fireplaces, and an expanded food service area offers ample seating and views through large windows.

But, the main focus of the new hospital is the patient and providing the most efficient and individualized care possible, Rohrich said.

"The most important piece for the new hospital is that privacy is really addressed throughout the facility," Rohrich said. "Movement of patients, from pre-op to post-op, has its own private hallways. It's something that preserves dignity and respect for the patient."

Rooms in the new hospital are all private; there are no double rooms for inpatients. New space for pre and post delivery offers private bathrooms with whirlpool baths and couches for family to stay on.

The hospital will be getting equipment that will operate on a computerized digital system, for reference by radiologists, surgeons and general practitioners.

New mammography will allow for better and earlier detection of breast cancer and can do 3-D reconstruction within the program.

"It's breathtaking," Rohrich said. "It's like something out of NASA. I think patients will get a higher level of technology available to them. And it should provide more efficient care. We just want to provide the best care in Northwest Colorado."

'Cutting edge'

Rohrich said the new emergency services and operating rooms will create efficient inflow and an expanded surgical service.

Each operating room is almost twice the size of the current operating rooms, and there will be three, instead of two, inside the new hospital.

The operating rooms boast some extremely advanced technology, allowing for more efficient and focused surgeries.

Each room is wired with a ceiling boom, which houses the surgical lights and video capabilities.

While in surgery, a surgeon will now be able to access the integrated network of patient history and bring up resources such as old X-rays, patient records, or a current live feed of the surgery, on one of the four plasma televisions around the room.

This will save the doctor from having to get up and leave surgery if he or she needs to check a patient's records or films.

"A vast majority of all imaging equipment will go digital," Rohrich said. "That is cutting edge technology. In a new building, we're able to wire it throughout for connectivity even in the clinical areas."

The patient monitors also will be upgraded, and the new security system will control access to all parts of the building, ensuring privacy.

The emergency wing, which Rohrich called "beautifully designed," allows ambulances to pull up directly to the ER. When patients are unloaded, they are transported within a private hallway system.

The new helicopter pad also provides easy access to emergency and operating rooms.

All of the diagnostic tools and radiology are nearby to help provide more efficient emergency care.

The computed tomography, or CT, machine is only about a year old and will be one of the few pieces relocated from the old hospital. Currently, the hospital is trying to secure a grant for a new MRI machine.

Rob Kerns, superintendent of the site for general contractor Robins & Morton, said the new hospital is all about efficiency and patient care above all else.

Kerns emphasized the administrative wing, a small hallway with several modest offices.

"We wanted to focus on the health care aspect, not the administrative one," he said. "We want most of the footage to be devoted to patient care. The size of the CEO's office is not exactly impressive."

Kerns said he was proud of his construction crew and the work they have done, as well as the care that the new hospital will offer.

"It's so great because everyone in the community is interested and excited about it," he said. "This really means something to the people here."

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