New Stanton hospital opens

STANTON — Officials cut the ribbon on Martin County's new $22 million hospital Tuesday.The new 18-bed Martin County Hospital, which was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, officially opened its doors at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and initial reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, the hospital's director said.“Everybody's just raved about it,” said Peter McKinney, CEO of the Martin County Hospital District. “It's the finest facility this county has ever seen.”The hospital, financed through a $22.85 million bond approved by more than 80 percent of the hospital district voters in May 2010, took 13 months to build and replaces a building that simply outlived its usefulness, McKinney said.“The old building is 63 years old and almost completely out of of functional use to the community,” he said. “It was almost like being back in the '50s … We were definitely behind the times in the way we treated our patients, but we've caught up now.”Final construction costs came in at just over $22 million, $750,000 under original estimates. In addition, the hospital was completed two months ahead of schedule, McKinney said.The new hospital will provide basically the same services as its predecessor, but in a more spacious environment and utilizing more modern equipment. In addition, it features a helipad, something the previous site didn't offer.McKinney said the hospital is looking to expand its day surgery services and seeks to expand the number of doctors who utilize the facility. Also, the building will feature a cafeteria/dining room that will be open to the public beginning Saturday.Meanwhile, the old hospital will be demolished and the lot sold to housing developers, McKinney said.