Shown at left is a rendering by Earl Swensson, the architecture firm that designed The Memorial Hospital's new facility. At right is a photograph of the hospital's atrium taken Thursday. The new Memorial Hospital will be open for public tours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Shown at left is a rendering by Earl Swensson, the architecture firm that designed The Memorial Hospital's new facility. At right is a photograph of the hospital's atrium taken Thursday. The new Memorial Hospital will be open for public tours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

New hospital unveiled to public today

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If you go

What: Dedication and tours of The Memorial Hospital's new facility

When: Dedication at 10 a.m., tours offered until 2 p.m.

Where: Off Moffat County Road 7, 1/4 mile north of U.S. Highway 40

Video

The new Memorial Hospital Virtual Tour

Take a tour of the new Memorial Hospital at 750 Hospital Loop, Craig, from your home in this virtual tour.  Hospital administrators show the new building to our cameras and talk about the upgrades to this state-of-the-art facility.

Take a tour of the new Memorial Hospital at 750 Hospital Loop, Craig, from your home in this virtual tour. Hospital administrators show the new building to our cameras and talk about the upgrades to this state-of-the-art facility.

photo

Samantha Johnston, The Memorial Hospital chief of organizational excellence, looks through the new digital mammography machine at the new hospital Thursday morning. The facility includes a women's diagnostic service area to make procedures more private and comfortable.

— On the morning of Nov. 12, after the last patient leaves the door of The Memorial Hospital at 745 Russell St., every sign will be taken down, and passersby might never know the space was once the lone hospital in Craig.

The next child who breaks his arm or the next father who has a heart attack will be transported to a new building off Moffat County Road 7 west of Craig.

The 77,000-square-foot facility sits atop a hill overlooking town, trimmed with the rich texture of a cobblestone unique to TMH.

"Craig Cobble," a mixture of stones found in Northwest Colorado, is just one of the ways in which TMH attempted to embody the essence of Moffat County in a building that will serve its residents for years to come.

A dedication of the building is at 10 a.m. today, after which the public can see firsthand the new hospital that was financed by and built for Moffat County citizens.

This will be the only opportunity for the public to walk through the corridors of the medical wing because once the hospital is open to patients, new security measures will keep visitors, hospital staff and patients safely confined to their respective areas.

Samantha Johnston, TMH chief of organizational excellence, said when taxpayers passed a $42.6 million bond issue in 2007 to help finance the building, hospital officials promised the community something they could be proud of.

"We wanted this to feel comfortable for Moffat County," Johnston said. "This is not Steamboat Springs. This is not a resort town. We need something that feels good for Craig. That's why a lot of the decor is tied to the landscape."

She said the architects and builders put time and effort into researching and understanding the lifestyle.

The end result was a 28-foot atrium with soft lighting and plush couches, a small amount of space devoted to administrative offices and state-of-the-art equipment spread out over spacious, private rooms.

"Naturally, when you walk into a hospital, there is some level of stress and anxiety because you're sick or you're visiting someone who is sick," Johnston said. "We wanted an environment that has a calming, peaceful effect. And, we know that with the personnel and equipment we have, they'll be comfortable with the rest of their stay."

She said the medical technology throughout the building is "the best money can buy."

A new digital mammography machine is stationed in a women's diagnostic center, where women and their families can have a comfortable, private experience while undergoing what can sometimes be stressful, invasive tests, Johnston said.

The digital mammography machine also can help detect breast cancer earlier than other forms of testing.

In December, a new MRI machine will be delivered to the hospital, so patients will no longer have to be transported to a different building to receive important diagnostic tests.

Each of the three operating rooms in the new hospital is larger than the combined operating space from the old hospital. The rooms are equipped with moving booms that hold mobile plasma screens, surgical lights and tools, designed for ease of use and efficiency during surgery.

While most of the public will not see the inside of the surgical wing, there is another major change to TMH that is visible to passersby.

Johnston said that when TMH looked at building a new facility, they envisioned changing the name of the hospital. However, they later found the community was attached to what the name symbolized.

"People wanted to keep the name because it meant something to them," she said. "It's a memorial to World War II veterans, and we don't want to take that away."

Instead, a team has worked to develop a cleaner-looking contemporary logo, Johnston said.

"The old logo was just outdated," she said. "It didn't say 'regional health care.' The new logo still carries those same elements, like the medical cross, but it's edgier and more contemporary."

The new logo features a brown and burgundy cross, and "The Memorial Hospital at Craig," written underneath.

On Friday, custodial workers polished, vacuumed and cleaned to put the finishing touches on the building before tours began.

The buzz of anticipation around the new building was audible, and Johnston said she was confident the public would be awed.

"I think they'll just be really impressed with the attention to detail," she said.

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