A beam with the words, “… the place on which you stand is holy ground,” from Exodus 3:5 set the tone for the beginning of construction of the new Parkview Regional Medical Center off Dupont Road, east of Interstate 69.
The dirt was ceremoniously turned Tuesday on the $536 million facility that will feature nine stories, 900,000 square feet, 400-plus private rooms and 100-200 new jobs.
Parkview officials called it a stimulus to the area despite the economic hard times and even made a facetious reference to Harrison Square, another $125 million major construction project in the city that includes a ballpark, hotel, condos, retail space and parking garage.
“Tom (Mayor Henry) asked me right before the ceremony if he could buy naming rights to the area,” joked Mike Packnett, Parkview Health president and CEO, referencing the recent $3 million naming rights of Parkview Field.
With a packed tent of nearly 400 attendees, the lighthearted feel of the afternoon continued as they stood in the parking lot that by December 2010 will be the Parkview Heart Institute, just one of the many specialty centers of the new hospital.
On top of the already existing Women's and Children's Hospital, Outpatient Services Center and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the hospital will feature centers for neurosciences and orthopedics, critical care and surgery, and the region's only verified level II adult and pediatric trauma center, according to a release.
“For us, it's really rewarding being a part of something that brings so much to the community,” said Chip Cogswell, of Jones Lang Lasalle, project manager who helps to oversee the schedule and budget for construction.
Despite the new project, Parkview officials were quick to reassure the community that the new hospital did not mean the closure of the Randallia location. They said, in fact, the hospital will remain open and still offer emergency and acute care services.
“This is a great time to be at Parkview,” Packnett said.