FEATURE — Dixie Regional Medical Center is preparing to break ground on their new Legacy Plaza to honor health care heroes and celebrate the long history of the hospital and the care it provides.
The groundbreaking ceremony will take place Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot near the back dock of the new Intermountain Cancer Center of St. George. The ceremony will take place in conjunction with the LiVe Well Health Fair, which goes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the expansion tours running from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. that day as part of the grand opening celebration that starts Wednesday and runs through the weekend.
Legacy Plaza will consist of two walls: one with health care heroes and one with health care history. The wall of health care history will display bronze plaques that honor many of Dixie Regional’s milestones, including a plaque for each of the hospital locations over the years in St. George accompanied by a brief tribute to the care that was provided at that location. The largest plaque will be for the hospital’s current phase, the consolidation of the campuses on River Road.
The wall of health care heroes will be a place to honor individuals who have a history of integrity, innovation and contribution to bettering health care at DRMC. The very first health care hero will be honored as a surprise guest at the ceremony.
The Legacy Plaza groundbreaking ceremony will include a brief presentation on the hospital’s history by Terri Kane, the associate clinical operations officer for Intermountain Healthcare. Kane was the DRMC administrator from 2006-2016 and chief executive officer and vice president of the Intermountain Healthcare southwest region. DRMC’s current hospital administrator, Mitch Cloward, will then speak about health care heroes and present the award to the first hero.
Completion of the Legacy Plaza and the LiVe Well Park is estimated for 2019. As part of the final vision, an amphitheater will slope down to the plaza from the new Intermountain Cancer Center, which will then lead into a garden area with a variety of plants and trees and a walkway that will weave through the garden with outdoor exercise equipment along it. A kitchen will allow for outdoor gathering and events.
The new LiVe Well Park will be adjacent to the current trail that leads through the grounds, and officials hope that all members of the community will enjoy it, not just those visiting the hospital.
The park is a 30,000-square-foot space outside of the new cancer center. It was purposefully designed to allow patients undergoing infusion and chemotherapy to look out over the garden.
“Picture being a cancer patient there getting some sort of an infusion of chemotherapy, looking out those windows,” Cloward said. “Picture something beautiful down there that’s green, that speaks to life, that grows, that’s healing that they can look out on to help ease some of their anxieties or fears and feel a little bit of peace.”
The hospital performed research on the healing qualities of gardens as a peaceful environment for those receiving treatment during the planning process.
“We find tremendous value in all aspects of that patient experience. What they touch, see, feel, hear and experience is all part of how they feel before, during and after their time with us,” Cloward said. “So it’s really important for us that we provide the very best experience, the very best care we can. And we see the healing environment as a big portion of that in addition to the science and medical care they receive.”
With support from the community in order to serve the community
St. George has a rich hospital history dating back to 1913 when the first hospital, Washington County Hospital, opened its doors in the former Morris Hotel on 100 East. It became the McGregor Hospital in 1924, which closed in 1952, the same year that the Dixie Pioneer Memorial Hospital opened at 300 E. 550 South. This is where today’s 400 East campus is currently located.
In the 1970s, air conditioning finally came to Southern Utah, and in 1976, Dixie Medical Center opened with 65 patient rooms. Dixie Medical Center was officially purchased by Intermountain Healthcare that same year, and they started their nursing program in collaboration with Dixie State and Weber State colleges in 1977.
During the summer of 1985, the hospital opened the smallest accredited cancer center in the U.S. to care for the downwinders affected by nuclear testing in Nevada during the 1950s. At the time, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch was instrumental in helping to arrange funding for the center, said DRMC communications directory Terri Draper. However, the community also largely supported the project.
“A lot of the success of the hospital over these 105 years has come from community support,” Draper said.
The hospital was renamed Dixie Regional Medical Center in 1990 to reflect the fact that the hospital serves a larger community throughout Southern Utah and parts of Nevada and Arizona.
In 1993, 61 acres on River Road were purchased for future hospital expansion. Ten years later, on Nov. 24, 2003, Dixie Regional Medical Center River Road Campus opened with 208 beds. The first hyperbaric chamber suite and newborn intensive care unit opened in 2005, and in 2008, Dixie State University’s Taylor Health Sciences Building and Jubilee Home II were both completed, followed by the Dixie Regional Health & Performance Center in 2009.
Intermountain Healthcare brought LifeFlight helicopter services to Southern Utah in 2011, and later that year, Gateway to Wellness – now known as the Intermountain LiVe Well Center – was opened. In 2013 Intermountain Precision Genomics began extending life and quality of life for late-stage cancer patients, and in 2017 Dixie certified as a Level II Trauma Center.
Today, the hospital continues to improve and grow with the consolidation project at the River Road campus. Community support remains a large part of the hospital’s success, as approximately $14.2 million needed for the $300 million hospital expansion project – including the new cancer center – was donated and raised by members of the community.
While times may have changed, the story of Dixie Regional Medical Center is far from over, and the new Legacy Plaza and LiVe Well Park will make up the next chapters – chapters that not only honor the past but also look to the future of patient care.
Written by MIKAYLA SHOUP, St. George News.
- What: Groundbreaking ceremony for new Legacy Plaza.
- When: Saturday, Sept. 15, 9:30 a.m.
- Where: Parking lot near the back dock of the new Intermountain Cancer Center at Dixie Regional Medical Center.
- Admission: Free.
• S P O N S O R E D C O N T E N T •
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