• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Public open house
• 6 a.m. Patients moved and old facility closes.
Kelly Weber snuck away from her tour group Tuesday while deep in the surgical wing of The Memorial Hospital's new building.
A surgical technician at TMH, Weber was excited to explore the new and improved operating rooms.
"Beth, come here," she said to her friend and co-worker Beth Koonce. "Come look at our new sub."
In the new "sub-sterile" area behind the three new operating rooms, the two women excitedly checked out their new equipment and workspace.
They gasped at their new sterilizer and pulled open drawers trimmed in pinewood that soon will contain their surgical tools.
"It's so much different than what we had," said Koonce, who is a nurse. "We are basically in a cave right now. We needed this so bad."
Along with Weber and Koonce, about seven staff members, from information services to registered nurses, were taken on their first official tour of the new building Tuesday morning.
TMH staff and clinicians attended one of several general orientations this week at the new facility off Moffat County Road 7 west of Craig.
The staff members sat through a quick overview of new and existent building and behavioral procedures before taking what service excellence officer Samantha Johnston called a "30,000-square-foot tour" of the building.
Some of the participants had seen the facility in various states of completion, but for many, it was a first look into their future workplace.
"I haven't seen it since January when it was just steel beams and dirt," Weber said. "We just love it. We're so compact right now, and this is a lot bigger. And we'll have newer things."
The operating rooms weren't just a highlight for surgical team members.
One staff member called the room "ginormous," and tour leader Denise Jones said they were bigger than any rooms she had seen at other facilities.
Each operating room is about the size of the current two rooms combined. Each ceiling is fixed with a new system of moving arms and booms for lights, monitors and tools.
"You should have seen the old lights," Koonce said. "There were only these old tracks, and you'd practically tear your rotator cuff just trying to move them."
Surgeons also will have the ability to call up an old X-ray or MRI on one of the mobile plasma screens during surgery.
"These are really nice," information services worker Cindy Chotvacs said. "It's no comparison to what we had before. People are going to come in and their jaws are just going to drop."
A public open house is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct 31, and will be the only opportunity the public will have to view the facility that was built partially with taxpayer dollars.
Once the hospital is open, the public will not be able to see the new technology because of new security procedures.
A series of doors and card readers will keep patients, visitors and staff members from accessing any part of the hospital other than where they are designated to go.
Johnston said the security procedures were to ensure patient privacy and safety, as well as the efficient movement of patients within the corridors.
Kathy Fagan, director of inpatient services, also was on the tour Tuesday, though she has been a part of the design process from before ground was broken on the new facility.
She said it was important for TMH to have input from clinicians while the building was being designed.
"That way we can really have stuff changed to align with how we operate," she said. "Now, we have charting out coves all along these hallways so nurses are always closer to patients for quicker response times."
She said the decor theme of brown, gold and soft lighting was designed to make a hospital visit feel "warm and cozy."
"We wanted it to be clinical without feeling too clinical," Fagan said. "If you have to have a hospital stay, you want it to be a family environment. And that will go along with our whole philosophy of care."