Ground broken for county’s new hospital

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TELL CITY – Perry County Memorial Hospital celebrated the groundbreaking of its new 117,000-square-foot facility Friday with applause, thank yous and a long line of shovels.

Site work along Indiana 237 has been under way for several weeks but hospital officials decided to wait until there was plenty of parking before holding a ceremony. The hospital will be funded through a loan from the United States Department of Agriculture and will be repaid through hospital operations, not tax money.

The project is managed by the Nehemiah Group with Laughlin, Millea and Hillman as hospital architects. Weddle Brothers Construction of Bloomington was awarded the $32 million construction bid on the project.

Joseph Stuber, president and chief executive officer of Perry County Memorial Hospital, welcomed guests to the ceremony Friday, saying, “The future of quality health care is closer than ever as we begin construction on our new facility. We look forward to the opportunities the new hospital will provide our employees and the communities we serve.”

He thanked the many federal, state and local officials and agencies who secured funding for the project.

The new hospital is scheduled to be completed in early 2015 and Stuber extended an invitation to the crowd to return to cut the ribbon on the new facility. “We are all champions for health care and I look forward to standing here with you upon the successful completion of the project,” he said.

Also speaking was J.B. Land, chairman of the hospital’s board of trustees. He honored the late Donnie Etienne, who served on the board for more than a decade. Etienne died earlier this year and a burr oak tree at the site was dedicated Friday in his honor.

Etienne’s wife, Rebecca, and daughter, Jody French, accepted the tribute on behalf of the family.

After remarks by Stuber and Land, more than 50 people stepped forward for the ceremonial turning of soil in an area that will be the new hospital’s cafeteria.