By Rebecca Rose
Harker Heights Herald
Fourteen months after breaking ground, staff and executives with Seton Medical Center opened the doors at the hospital Thursday night for a special ribbon-cutting event and tour.
Massive blue ribbons adorned the tops of the entry doors at the soon-to-open medical complex. Rain forced the official ceremony inside the main building, as hundreds of supporters, employees, benefactors, civic leaders and other guests packed into the lobby.
Attendees were treated to guided tours, including the emergency room and surgical suites.
Since the hospital is a joint venture between LHP Hospital Group and Seton, executives from both entities thanked the crowd and local supporters.
Seton Harker Heights CEO Matt Maxfield thanked a long list of local leaders. Harker Heights Mayor Mike Aycock and City Manager Steve Carpenter were singled out and thanked by Maxfield for their sustained support of the project.
"(This is) the first hospital built in Bell County in 34 years," said Maxfield. The CEO said his vision was for the hospital to become a part of the community.
Maxfield said the hospital has nearly 275 employees. The project is expected to create more than 1,900 jobs in the next decade.
Maxfield and others who spoke at the ceremony credited a group of more than 60 local physicians who spearheaded the drive to bring a new hospital to the area, including local plastic surgeon Dr. Charles Day, who addressed Thursday's crowd.
Day said the original group of physicians who banded together had grown to more than 80 with staff privileges at Seton, representing every type of medical practice. "(It's) almost a dream team," he said. "In one short week, we get what we've all been waiting for."
Dan Moen, CEO and president of LHP, said the complex was financed on equity, with no debt.
"That will put us in a strong position to compete (in this area)," he said.
The $100 million three-story hospital will feature 83 licensed beds, a full-service emergency department, all-electronic medical records, an intensive care unit, women's services, medical and surgical services, imaging and diagnostic, a helipad and a 60,000-square-foot medical pavilion adjacent to the main hospital.
The 192,400-square-foot complex is at 850 W. Central Expressway in Harker Heights.
The hospital plans a free, public grand opening event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Seton will officially open for patients on June 18. For more information on hospital services, go to www.setonharkerheights.net.
Contact Rebecca Rose at email@example.com or (254) 501-7548. Follow her on Twitter at KDHBusinessNews.