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A ribbon has been cut on a new present for the community.
After five years of development, Jewish Hospital Shelbyville unveiled its freshly renovated and expanded emergency room.
Michael Collins, president and CEO of the hospital, reflected on the project before a room full of supporters in the hospital's community room Wednesday afternoon.
Collins said he and other officials began brainstorming in 2004 as the emergency department was having between 17,000 and 18,000 visits per year in a space designed for a capacity of 15,000.
"We began to look at design concepts to try to find what we felt would be an efficient way to use what we had, improve it, and also enlarge it," he said.
With those ideas in mind, they decided to reach out to the Colonel Harland Sanders Foundation (CHSF) - which had helped the hospital in years past.
"We hoped the foundation would see the project as a way to honor the Colonel in a way, and the hospital would get a gift," he said.
When the leadership of the CHSF board came out in 2005 to get a sense of what the hospital was hoping to accomplish, Collins said one key question came up: Did the hospital have the community's support?
"In 2006, we received notice that the Colonel Harland Sanders Foundation indeed was going to provide us with a gift, and that gift was one million dollars," he said.
The hospital's campus is now called the Col. Harland D. Sanders Medical Campus, and a bronze statue of Sanders rests on the campus.
But there was a condition attached to the donation. The foundation asked the hospital to go and raise money in community. They didn't say how much money was needed, just that the effort was.
Collins said the hospital was tentative to set its initial fundraising target at $500,000 but soon increased it to a loftier $700,000. As time passed, the goal looked more and more realistic.
"We've received dollars from $25 up to $300,000," he said of the community donators. "Every dollar we've received has really gone to a significant number. That significant number today has exceeded $700,000."
Combined with the CHSF donation, the hospital has raised $1.7 million for a large chunk of the project that costs $2.5 million.
Did the hospital have the community's support? As oversized scissors sliced through a purple ribbon outside the Emergency Room Wednesday, it was clear that the answer has turned out to be a resounding yes.
Collins had also just learned that support sometimes comes from all over. After addressing the remarkable help and support of the community, Collins shared some more very recent good news regarding hospital funding.
"We received notice from [U.S. Rep.] Brad Guthrie's office yesterday [Tuesday] afternoon, that we were going to be awarded with a grant of $290,000 for medical products," he said.
Those funds will primarily go toward respirators.
And in the new emergency department there's plenty of room for more products.
"It expanded from six treatment rooms to 13. That was the most significant thing," said Holly Husband, director of public relations at the hospital.
The project renovated existing adjacent space, built out space from the actual footprint of the hospital and replaced parking area with an approximately 1700-square-foot building.
"That space includes clean and dirty utility area, which is required for hospital spaces, an office for our physicians, an office for our nursing leader, and a break room for staff, which they didn't have before," she said.
The project expanded the existing ER space to have a larger waiting room, a new trauma room and two new triage rooms. Curtained areas were walled in with glass, and a small patient greeting room was created.
The ER also now has two rooms that are ready for emergency baby births. The hospital delivered its last baby when it did away with its OB program in 2006, but it remains prepared for everything.
"We feel like we're ready to meet any need that comes through the door," Husband said.
As of this week, the hardhats are gone and everything is now in use.