Dixie Regional Medical Center celebrates inauguration of massive construction project

ST. GEORGE — Dixie Regional Medical Center held an “Up! Ceremony” Friday morning to mark the official start of construction for a massive expansion project planned for the River Road campus.

The celebration was held in the parking lot of the Russell C. Taylor Health Sciences building at 1526 Medical Center Drive.

Dixie Regional Medical Center celebrated the official start to construction on the $300 million River Road campus Friday, St. George, Utah, June 17, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Dixie Regional Medical Center celebrated the official start to construction on the $300 million River Road campus Friday, St. George, Utah, June 17, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The project will effectively double the size of Dixie Regional Medical Center and is considered the largest, most expensive construction project in Washington County’s history.

The campus grounds were lined with brightly colored balloons and several hot air balloons attempted to get aloft, but ultimately were grounded by gusting winds. Music played and a light breakfast was served.

Several hundred people were on hand to witness the project’s inauguration. U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, St. George Mayor Jon Pike and Washington County Commissioner Alan Gardner were invited to speak at the dedication. Musician Lyndy Butler performed some of her songs. Several patients recounted their experiences facing health challenges.

After the speeches were given, Pike led the gathered audience in a countdown, culminating in a confetti explosion.

Read more: Hospital to hold ‘Up! Ceremony’ marking monumental expansion

Dixie Regional Medical Center celebrated the official start to construction on the $300 million River Road campus Friday, St. George, Utah, June 17, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Dixie Regional Medical Center celebrated the official start to construction on the $300 million River Road campus Friday, St. George, Utah, June 17, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Terri Kane, CEO for Dixie Regional Medical Center, said the morning’s event was truly a celebration.

“It’s really an uprising for our services, elevating, going up, new offerings we’re going to have,” she said.

“There’s so much enthusiasm for this great experience we’re going to be having over the next couple of years,” Kane said. “It’s just fun to see it all come together.”

It was important to grow with the community, she added, and to have the medical facilities that enabled the people of St. George to remain in town for all of their health care needs.

Being the sole community hospital in this area is such a responsibility,” she said, “and as the community grows, we need to grow with it.”

Pike said that while the building itself was important, it was the work of the people within it that made the biggest difference in the community.

Renderings of expansion of Dixie Regional Medical Center | Photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare, St. George News
Renderings of expansion of Dixie Regional Medical Center | Photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare, St. George News

“First of all, it is a $300 million project,” Pike said, “so it will be — to date — the largest construction project in Washington County. So it’s huge, but when you consider what is going to happen inside the building when it’s finished, that’s even more important.”

The growth of the medical center is a perfect parallel to the growth of St. George and Southern Utah, he said.

“It’s indicative of the area’s growth,” Pike said, “and that’s going to continue. This is a desirable type of environment to live in.”

Mark Briesacher, senior vice president of Clinical Integration for Intermountain Healthcare agreed while there was much to be excited about regarding the new facilities, he was more excited to see how the new staff served the community.

“What I most look forward to is just how the people of St. George and the surrounding communities will be served by the new teams and the new services this campus will be able to provide,” Briesacher said.

The process of creating this project started many years before, he said. It began with the commitment on the part of Intermountain Healthcare to aspire to be a model health care system, one that would serve the needs of the community.

“That orientation, that community focus is really where that planning started, it was decades in the making,” Briesacher said.

Gardner said the St. George area has come a long way from his youth, when there were only three doctors in the area.

“We’ve seen tremendous improvement,” Gardner said. “We’ve been fortunate to have IHC (Intermountain Healthcare) here and play a major part in our community.”

Gary Stone, operations manager for Dixie Regional Medical Center, said this project was one he was particularly gratified to see begin.

This is something I’ve personally put my heart and soul into,” he said. “Specifically, around oncology and figuring out how to solve the problem of cancer once and for all.”

The new cancer center will provide a unique opportunity for a city the size of St. George, he said, adding the center will be utilizing genomics, immunotherapy and a close collaboration with Stanford University in the quest to find a cure. The cancer center will also be home to Precision Genomics of Intermountain Healthcare.

The new facilities, totaling nearly 500,000 square feet of additional space, will add three towering structures to the existing Dixie Regional Medical Center campus and will allow for expansion and consolidation of services.

It will also provide an opportunity to move the existing services at the 400 East Campus to the more centralized location, eliminating the need for transfers between campuses and increasing safety. The standalone, comprehensive cancer center will be built a short distance away.

The project is expected to be completed in late 2018.

St. George News senior reporter Mori Kessler contributed to this article

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Email: dgilman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

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