HOPEDALE — An emergency department nurse who has worked at Hopedale Hospital for 21 years, Leah Warrick showed off an emergency department procedure room — one of three larger replacement rooms with new equipment.
"It's private," Warrick said of each suite. "In the old ER, patients would share a room.
"It's easily accessible, we have a new heated ambulance bay, we have more space and it's going to be more efficient for the staff," Warrick said during a tour Friday.
The replacement emergency department is part of an $8.5 million renovation and expansion project to the hospital, which is the heart of Hopedale Medical Complex in this Tazewell County town of 850 people.
The medical complex has 330 full- and part-time employees and three will be added when the addition and renovation is complete, said Chief Operating Officer Mark Rossi.
The project is a 10,000-square-foot addition and 20,000-square-foot renovation to the hospital, which opened in 1955.
"The old building was pretty outdated," Warrick said. "But this is top-of-the-line equipment.
"We're a tiny hospital. This is pretty swanky for us," she said with a smile.
"It has an ultra-modern feel," Rossi said. "With all the natural light, people (employees) just feel better walking into the building."
Opening Friday afternoon were the replacement emergency department with three patient suites, nurses' station and on-call doctor's overnight room; five larger private inpatient rooms; six outpatient surgery suites; an outpatient surgery entrance and lobby; a main hospital lobby with an adjoining patient conference room; and a replacement helipad.
In the spring, Rossi hopes to open a replacement intensive care unit and a sixth private inpatient room. A chapel and dining area will open later.
"We're only three months late, which is good considering that we lost all of last winter because of the weather," Rossi said.
"We're hoping for a rededication near May 8," which will be the 60th anniversary of the hospital's opening by Rossi's father, Dr. Lawrence Rossi.
"That would be fortuitous," Mark Rossi said.
In addition to the 25-bed hospital, the medical complex includes a nursing home, assisted and independent living facility, wellness center, Midwest Vascular Institute and doctors' offices.
While the number of inpatients is small, the emergency department and outpatient services are as busy as ever, Rossi said.
"The hospital's financial condition is as good as it's ever been," he said.