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VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital holds grand opening Saturday

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
The front lobby of the new hospital; an overview of construction as of August / October 12, 2017
VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill will celebrate the grand opening of its state-of-the art, $93 million hospital facility this Saturday, Oct. 14 with a speakers' program at 9 a.m. and self-guided tours for the public until 4 p.m.

The event is open to everyone, and hospital officials are expecting a crowd in the thousands. The new hospital will officially open for business on Nov. 11, after patients are transferred that day from the current VCU-CMH facility at Buena Vista Drive to the new hospital at 1755 North Mecklenburg Avenue.

The product of an affiliation agreement struck in 2014 between Richmond-based VCU Health and the South Hill hospital, then known as Community Memorial Healthcenter, the new 70-bed facility is envisioned as a "destination hospital" for the southern Virginia and northern North Carolina region.

Here's an overview of what is planned for Saturday:

WHAT: The grand opening celebration of the new VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 14, starting at 9 a.m. with remarks by VCU Health leadership followed by an official ribbon cutting. From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. the building will be open to event attendees for self-guided tours.

WHERE: The new hospital location at 1755 North Mecklenburg Avenue, South Hill (near interchange of U.S. 1-N and Route 138).

KEY DETAILS: Limited seating for the ribbon cutting ceremony will be available in front of the main entrance to the new hospital. There will also be limited parking onsite. Parking lots can be accessed by both entrances, one off North Mecklenburg Avenue/Highway 1 and the other off Route 138. If onsite parking lots become full, there will be additional parking with vans available to shuttle attendees to the ceremony at the following locations: Fastenal, Hughes Supply, New Hope Baptist Church, and Virginia Quilting Company.

WHILE YOU'RE THERE: Informational books about the new facility will be distributed to attendees along with a commemorative coin. (Books and coins will be given out on a first come, first serve basis.) Refreshments will also be provided. An additional outside restroom trailer will be situated to the left of the ceremony.

OPERATING DATA: The new hospital will not officially open until Nov. 11, and the Obstetrics department will officially open on Nov. 20.

BACKGROUND: Construction of the new VCU Health CMH is mostly complete, two years after the historic groundbreaking event on Oct. 24, 2015. The 166,700 square foot, technologically-advanced facility will feature 70 private patient rooms. The facility will also include three operating room suites, a cesarean section suite, a 16-bay emergency department and an Obstetrics department with four LDRP rooms (Labor, Delivery, Recovery, Postpartum).

The new VCU Health CMH will have a permanent cardiac catheterization lab, succeeding the mobile lab at the existing Buena Vista Circle hospital. With the new cath lab, VCH Health CMH will provide the most advanced cardiac care in the region, supplemented by diagnostic services including MRI, CT, nuclear medicine, cardiac, vascular and pulmonary studies.

WHAT ELSE IS IN STORE: The new C.A.R.E. comprehensive medical services building on the hospital campus will house physician practices, administrative offices, cardiac and pulmonary rehab and education, and on-site living quarters for medical residents coming in from VCU Health in Richmond. The facility is expected to open in early to mid-2018.

WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE OLD HOSPITAL? Scott Burnette, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital CEO, says that a plan is still in development for the 1954 Hill-Burton Act community-owned hospital. “I hope we’ll have a decision on that in the next year. We’re definitely not going to leave an abandoned facility in the middle of town.” The W.S. Hundley Annex, a long-term care facility, will continue to operate there.

WHO’S COMING TO THE GRAND OPENING? “Our best guess — of course this is weather dependent — is about 3,000,” said Burnette.

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