Groundbreaking ceremony celebrates new $38 million hospital in Luray

Page News and Courier
LURAY, Dec. 10 — The number three was a reoccurring theme as Valley Health officials and community leaders gathered Monday to break ground for a new hospital — three years of planning, the third new Valley Health facility in Page, a three-story design, three chief donors.
Speakers at the event echoed three rallying words: “Watch us grow.”
“In case you haven't noticed, things are happening here with healthcare in Page County,” Chairman of the Page Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees Dick Masincup told a crowd of more than 100, who crammed along the edge of the construction site.
Although site work on the new hospital began in September, supporters gathered Monday for the ceremonial event. The groundbreaking had been initially scheduled to take place last month, but was postponed due to the effects of “Superstorm” Sandy, which reached the Mid-Atlantic coastline three days before.
Valley Health President and CEO Mark Merrill joked he felt the need to begin carrying a shovel in the back of his truck — a reference to the nonprofit organization's recent expansion trend. Valley Health launched two new healthcare facilities in Page County in the last year. The organization opened a $1 million Shenandoah Health Center in May and a $4.1 million Luray clinic last December. The new Page Memorial Hospital will adjoin Luray's Page Health Care building.
Page County's new $38 million hospital will feature three stories and 67,100 square feet — about one-third larger than the current PMH building. Page Memorial opened its doors on Court Street in 1925, before moving to its current site on Memorial Drive in 1958. The hospital then expanded five times between 1963 and 1999 to its current total of 56,200 square feet.
Referencing the “achievements” made by the 87-year-old hospital, PMH president Travis Clark said the new design will “best fit the needs of Page County.”
Chairman of the Valley Health Board of Trustees Jim Holland added that the organization aims to not only offer local residents the “highest quality healthcare,” but “have a positive impact” on the local economy.
In the last decade, Merrill said, Page County has grown 12 percent. According to the Virginia Employment Commission's most recent quarterly census, the Valley Health system is the county's sixth-largest employer, based on April through May.
Cathy Weaver announced Monday that the Page County-based Capital Campaign Committee has raised nearly $700,000 for the new hospital. The co-chair of the committee said since its inaugural meeting in July, the fundraising committee has worked toward the goal of raising $1 million to help purchase equipment and digital technology for the new facility, including beds, computer radiology readers, ultrasound and mammography equipment and picture-archiving and communication systems.
Weaver recognized the three largest contributors to the campaign, each who donated $100,000 — the Luray Caverns Corp. through its Wishing Well Fund, the PMH Auxiliary and Blue Ridge Bank.
The local campaign plans to continue collecting funds through 2013. Completion of the $38 million facility is slated for the first quarter of 2014.
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