Invited community gets sneak peak at new area hospital
CORBIN — By Carl Keith Greene / Staff Writer
The ribbon was cut and invited community leaders got their first look inside the new St. Joseph-London hospital on a rainy Wednesday.
The $152 million hospital’s construction began about two years ago and is expected to open Aug. 19 when patients will be transported from the existing facility in downtown to the new building.
Along with patients, some 1,000 employees will populate the 340,000 square-foot building with 120 patient rooms, six surgical suites and five heart catheterization laboratories.
The hospital has on its medical staff some 165 active and affiliate medical staff members.
A circular chapel bearing a stained glass window in the shape of a cross, with each of the tiny glass portions of the cross engraved with a Biblical verse, is just off the entrance.
An atrium style lobby greets patients and visitors with plenty of light and plenty of welcome.
Along with the latest medical technology, the hospital features expansive interior spaces, original artwork and all patient rooms are for single occupancy.
Outside is a lake that can be viewed from the Fountain View Cafe, the hospital’s cafeteria which will be open from 6:30 a.m. to midnight.
Along with the lake will be a Healing Garden.
Wednesday, the hospital was dedicated by Ronald W. Gainer, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington.
In his homily, Gainer said, “When Jesus healed, he wanted his contemporaries to know the kingdom of his Father had dawned upon them. And these miracles of bringing people who were broken and ill and sick to wholeness was a sign of God’s will for us, a sign of he presence of the kingdom.”
He noted that after Pentecost, the ministry of healing and preaching the presence of the kingdom was passed on to the church.
“In our catholic community of faith, we have a proud and centuries-long history and legacy of continuing the work of God’s healing through the hospitals and various health care services that we have tried to sponsor and provide,” he added.
The bishop was followed by St. Joseph Health System’s president and CEO, Gene Woods.
He called the opening of St. Joseph-London as one of “the most anticipated” openings of all in the St. Joseph system.
“This building and the state-of-the-art technology that will now pour forth will enable us to take care even to another level,” he added.
Next came Elizabeth Wendeln, of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, who bought the hospital in 1946 from London physician H.V. Pennington, who built the hospital in 1926.
She is the secretary of the St. Joseph Health System Board.
She recalled the early days of the hospital, then called Marymount.
One of the items from the London newspaper she quoted was, “Mr. H.V. Pennington offers the purchase of the Pennington Hospital to the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth at the cost of $120,000. This does not include one mobile General Electric x-ray, one Victor ultra-violet machine or two microscopes that are now needed in another laboratory. It does include nine-and-a-half acres of land, all the buildings, three cows, one mule and all the chickens.”
London’s Mike Fiechter, chair of St. Joseph Health System Board said, “As with many of you, Marymount Hospital, and now St. Joseph, have had a powerful impact on my life and the life of my family. I was born there in 1956. My sisters were born there and I understand the legacy of care that they offer.”
He described the new facility as patient-centered.
Kentucky State Sen. David Williams told those present, “This building that’s here today and the care that is represented that will come in the future has a statewide impact.”
Mayor Troy Rudder gave the final presentation.
“We are truly, truly honored to be in the presence of so many people who make such a difference in our community,” he began.
“I have found a proverb, ‘He who has health has hope. And he who has hope has everything.’ St. Joe, you’re our hope. You’re the hope of all the people in time of distress, time of illness. You provide quality care for all of us. You are our hope.”
Following the mayor, Gainer blessed the hospital and the new crucifixes that are to be hung in the building and the ribbon was cut.
A large group of visitors toured the new facility.
From 5-9 p.m. Friday, a Community Celebration and Sneak Preview Party will be held with facility tours, refreshments, Bluegrass music and giveaways.
And Saturday, July 31, from 1-3 p.m., an expectant parents reception will be held.

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