St. Mary’s Emergency - Ironton Project
St. Mary’s Medical Campus Opens in Ironton.
By Jean Tarbett Hardman.
7/10/2012 © The Herald-Dispatch
HUNTINGTON - Walk inside the front doors of the new St. Mary’s Emergency Room in Ironton, and you see the mission of the Pallottine sisters who started St. Mary’s Medical Center almost 100 years ago: “We are inspired by the love of Christ to provide quality health care in ways which respect the God-given dignity of each person and the sacredness of human life.”
On Monday, the people of the Ironton community began to benefit from their efforts to fulfill that mission, as St. Mary’s Medical Center opens its new Ironton campus. The opening was celebrated and tours were offered Sunday. “We’re certainly proud of this facility and what St. Mary’s has done for our city so far,” Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship said during the ribboncutting Sunday afternoon. The center brings the community hope as well as quality health care," he said.
The St. Mary’s Medical Campus in Ironton is now open at the intersection of U.S. 52 and Oho 141 in Ironton. Along with a state-of-the-art emergency room that is open around the clock, it offers imaging and lab services, family care and specialty doctors, including pediatricians and dentistry. Also, Hospice of Huntington has an office in the 46,000-square-foot facility, giving it a presence in western Lawrence. About 100 people are employed at the St. Mary's Ironton campus, with 70 of the jobs being brand new, said Doug Korstanje, director of marketing and community relations for St. Mary's.
The $18.5 million medical center is the result of years of planning and collaboration, from the homeowners and businesses that gave up their properties for construction, to the local economic development and community action officials, to the local politicians who worked closely with St. Mary's officials to bring a major health care facility with a 24-7 ER back to Lawrence County.
Lawrence County Commissioner Les Boggs said the community was devastated in 2001 with the closing of River Valley Health System. He had thought he'd be the third generation of his family to retire from the medical center, but he was among some 400 employees left without work when it closed .
Boggs was among those who spoke during Sunday's ribboncutting at the new St. Mary's campus, praising all involved in the project for working together, and thanking St. Mary's for its investment in the county. "We don't take it lightly in Lawrence County when someone chooses to invest here," he said.
Among the homeowners who gave up their property for the new facility were Georgia and Carlos Willis, who sold their house of 52 years. "It was hard to leave," Georgia Willis said after the ceremony."We raised three kids here. They played in the creek. But we're glad to have the facility."
The opening of the center is a landmark day in the progress of Lawrence County, said D.R. Gossett, executive director of the Ironton-Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization. "Having up-to-date, quality health care right in the community is a critical advancement in the quality of life for Ironton residents," he said.
For Amanda King, a mother and an Ironton native, the facility is an exciting opportunity for her to work close to home. She will be working there as a emergency technician. "I'm happy to be home. I'm happy to be in Ironton," she said Sunday." I don't have to cross any bridge to work. I'm happy to be home."