After 15 years of dreaming, reorganizing, planning, applying, and constructing, the new $35 million Morgan Medical Center, the much anticipated replacement hospital on Lions Club Road in Madison, is finally completed. Hospital officials and local leaders celebrated the completed project last Sunday, with a traditional ribbon cutting and community tour to show off the brand new state-of-the-art, modernized hospital fit for 21st century healthcare.
“It is a glorious day for all involved, but especially for the citizens of all the communities we serve. What a great Christmas present for you all,” said Ralph Castillo, CEO of the hospital. “At the end of the day, this place belong to you all,” said Castillo. “I invite the whole community to use your local community hospital for your healthcare needs.”
The public will be able to begin utilizing the new hospital on Dec. 19. The Morgan Medical Center is replacing the old Morgan Memorial Hospital building that was built in 1959. The new hospital more than doubles the size of the old hospital, as well as features modern upgrades to the equipment inside. Morgan Medical Center is about 74,000 square-feet and filled with top-of-the-line medical equipment. According to John Moore, a member of the Morgan Memorial Hospital Authority (MMHA), the new hospital will significantly improve the healthcare service available in Morgan County.
“This facility is going to speak for itself,” said Moore. “It’s equipped with some of the latest technologies. It has a low-radiation x-ray machine. there is only one other in the state at Emory. There’s also a full service women’s imaging center. There is MRI and CT services now on site. The patient rooms are equipped with some of the latest monitoring for their healthcare. There’s not one, but two, full-service operating rooms…In the ER, there is now privacy, with eight individual rooms.”
Former MMHA Chairman Terry Evans spoke at Sunday’s ceremony, recounting the many challenges securing a new hospital entailed.
“Sometimes you have to experience the rain before you can see the rainbow,” said Evans. “During this long journey, we have experienced rejection, ridicule, questioning of our intelligence, and even second guessing. It has also gotten personal with a tax on some of us. We have experienced hurtful feelings, heartaches, disappointment and even tears along this journey. But when you stand in this beautiful facility that will save lives, mend bodies, and change Morgan County’s medical care for the better, we can proudly say, we are glad we did it.”
Evans personally thanked three county commissioners for their support throughout the process, former commissioner Ellen Warren and current commissioners, Donald Harris and Andy Ainslie. Warren, Harris, and Ainslie voted to increase the annual subsidy to the hospital to $1 million per year for the next 25 years, a requirement necessary for the hospital to secure a loan to fund the new hospital project.
“This would not have been possible without you,” said Evans.
Moore also noted the contributions of various people who played a part in bringing the new hospital to fruition. Moore specifically thanked Mike Conrads and Linda Conrads, and the rest of the Conrads family, for their generous contributions to the hospital, following the example of their parents, James and Jinny Conrads. Evans also thanked Pat and Natalie Reams for donating the land on which the hospital is to be built. He also thanked Pat and Natalie Reams for donating the land on which the hospital is to be built. He noted Alan Richman’s stellar negotiating skills to secure a low-interest loan rate with the USDA for the project and the construction company Brasfield & Gorrie for keeping the project on time and on budget. Lastly, Moore praised the hospital employees for their diligent efforts and support.
“Without their dedication to this community, we could not be here today,” said Moore. “The employees played an active role in the design and layout of this facility.” Moore recognized, in particular, Patrick Cook for his efforts in overseeing the project.
Castillo closed the ceremony by recognizing the legacy of the old hospital and the bright future of the new one.
“We will say goodbye to a building that touched the lives of thousands upon thousands of people and served this community very well,” said Castillo. “It is bittersweet in that long goodbye, but we know the good work we did there will carry on at this place…It matters that there is a vibrant hospital in this community. It matters that it is a fiscally sound business. And most importantly, it matters that we can and do deliver a quality product to the community we serve.”
The new hospital is located at 1740 Lions Club Road in Madison and will officially open on Dec. 19.