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Hospital breaks ground on expansion/renovation

March 20, 2017
  • Projects
As seen in the Clay Center Dispatch. Reported by Ryan D. Wilson. (Mar 17, 2017)

Clay County Medical Center has changed  a lot since hospital board chairwoman Lori Penner and her husband, a physician, came to Clay Center, Penner said at yesterday’s ground-breaking ceremony for the new expansion on Liberty Street south of the hospital.

Penner said as young couple with tan infant, what attracted them to Clay Center was the progressive community and the improvements being made to the hospital.

“We appreciated finding a community that obviously valued health care and put resources into hospital with an eye to the future,” Penner said.

But now, about 20 years later, it’s time for more renovations and an upgrade, with changing health trends and patient expectations and a physical plant that “near the end of its life,” Penner said.

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The expansion will add a new acute care center and obstetrics and surgical suites as well as make extensive renovations throughout the rest of the hospital.

Hospital CEO Austin Gillard said when he started as CEO in May of 2015, one of the first things he did was visit with patients about the care they received at the hospital.

“It wasn’t that the quality (of care) was bad -- it all came down to the environment,” he said. “They wished they could control the temperature in their room. They wished they could shower in their room. They wished the rooms were a little larger so more of their family could be in there with them as they went through their healing process. All these wishes will be resolved (with the project).”

The project  would have been “totally impossible” without the community’s support for the hospital, to include the foundation’s capital drive, Penner said.

Gillard said the community’s support for the project was indicated by 74 percent voting in favor of hospital bonds being issued for the project, 74 to 78 percent of hospital employees contributing toward the project., the foundation raising $1.3 million, over half their goal for the project’s capital campaign.

Over time, Penner said she and her family haven’t just provided the community with health care, they’ve been patients too -- to include her three children, two of which were delivered at the hospital; and a newly welcomed grandchild, who was also delivered at the hospital.

“We’ve truly developed a long term plan for our children,” Penner said. “I want to know that future generation, including my children and grandchild will have access to (health care) services in Clay Center.”

The expansion and remodel is “a big step in not only maintaining but achieving that goal,” she said.


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