Public gets first look at new hospital

EMHS CEO Rex Catlin takes visitors on a tour of the new healthcare facility in Bridgewater Twp. during an open house on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

EMHS CEO Rex Catlin takes visitors on a tour of the new healthcare facility in Bridgewater Twp. during an open house on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

BY STACI WILSON

Paula Krajcir trudged through knee-deep snow with her mother to attend the opening of the Montrose Hospital in April 1956. “We thought it was great to have a local hospital,” she said.

Now living in Endwell, N.Y., she returned to Montrose Saturday to get a look at the area’s newest health care facility. “The community is so fortunate to have such a state-of-the-art facility,” Krajcir said after her tour. “I’m amazed at the community spirit that went into this. It was a real grassroots project.”

Endless Mountains Health Systems opened its doors for tours of the new hospital and physician’s clinic this weekend, hosting the public Saturday and Sunday. By noon on Saturday over 400 people had come to take a look at the 24-bed hospital; operating rooms with natural light; an updated lab; separate emergency entrance; and overall better privacy for patients.

EMHS Lobby: The doors of the new EMHS facility open up into an expansive lobby with a pharmacy and cafeteria on the right, the physicians' clinic waiting room to the left and registration area for lab services straight ahead. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

EMHS Lobby: The doors of the new EMHS facility open up into an expansive lobby with a pharmacy and cafeteria on the right, the physicians’ clinic waiting room to the left and registration area for lab services straight ahead. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

EMHS broke ground on the hospital, which replaces the outdated facility located in Montrose, in early 2012. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. of Houston, donated $1 million and issued a $1 million community match pledge for the physicians’ clinic. The campaign, along with a $1 million grant from the Weinberg Foundation, led to a total of $4.4 million raised toward the construction of the physician’s clinic in four months.

EMHS CEO Rex Catlin said, “A lot of people have been very persistent to get this done.” Those people include the employees, medical staff and board members, as well as local businesses and individuals in the community.

The work to build a new healthcare facility began over 20 years ago. “We knew from the beginning we needed a new facility,” said Chris Caterson, EMHS board member.

But, he said, he is “blown away” by the finished building. “It’s bright and airy. The colors inside were chosen for a reason – it’s comfortable and efficient,” Caterson said. “Now people will drive up and see the good building on the outside that is a reflection of the good work we do on the inside.”

Visitor Coralie Cavanaugh of Springville Twp. said her father had been visiting her when he fell and broke his hip and was a patient at EMHS. She said her father said to her: “Everybody must know you because they treat me so well here.” She replied, “No, Daddy, they treat everyone that way.”

Catlin said the state-of-the-art facility will help EMHS recruit more physicians and bring more services to the area. In fact, he said, it already has with the addition of a rheumatologist and an EMT specialist.

EMHS Board President Ray Wilmarth explains the new healthcare facility's layout to open house visitor Coralie Cavanaugh. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

EMHS Board President Ray Wilmarth explains the new healthcare facility’s layout to open house visitor Coralie Cavanaugh. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

Surgeons and other specialists have also inquired about working with EMHS.
Catlin said everyone he spoke with who had taken the tour was “amazed, pleased and impressed” a sentiment echoed by Wilmarth.

“The whole building to me is inviting,” Wilmarth said. “The ultimate goal was to create a facility that was workable for the public – not just for our generation, but for generations to come. It seems we’ve gone a long way to meet that goal.”

Wilmarth also spoke to the grassroots funding for the facility. “This is truly of the public, by the public and for the public,” he said. But, he added, “We need to keep going forward. While this is a major step, we still have some other facets we need to keep moving forward to, and I think the people will be with us to help make this a completed facility.”

The doors are expected to open to patients on Nov. 18.