Pioneers breaks ground on new hospital

Paul Sheridan, president of the board at Pioneers Medical Center, welcomed more than 120 people to the groundbreaking ceremony Friday for the new hospital, to be built just off of Highway 13, about 2 miles north and east of Meeker.

Above is an artist’s concept of the entrance to the new Pioneers Medical Center, to be built northeast of town.
Above is an artist’s concept of the entrance to the new Pioneers Medical Center, to be built northeast of town.
MEEKER I On Friday afternoon, amid cloudy and breezy skies, more than 120 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Pioneers Medical Center, two miles northeast of downtown Meeker.
The launch of the new healthcare facility is an exciting new chapter in the proud history of Pioneers Medical Center and the Walbridge Memorial Wing long-term nursing home, hospital administrators and board members stated.
Paul Sheridan, president of the board at Pioneers Medical Center, welcomed more than 120 people to the groundbreaking ceremony Friday for the new hospital, to be built just off of Highway 13, about 2 miles north and east of Meeker.
Paul Sheridan, president of the board at Pioneers Medical Center, welcomed more than 120 people to the groundbreaking ceremony Friday for the new hospital, to be built just off of Highway 13, about 2 miles north and east of Meeker.
PMC Board Chairman Paul Sheridan welcomed the crowd and shared the board’s vision for the new hospital. The remainder of the program was emceed by PMC CEO Ken Harman.
Members of the hospital board, Rio Blanco County Commissioner Jeff Eskelson, Meeker Mayor Mandi Etheridge, Meeker Town Manager Scott Meszaros, other Meeker Board of Trustees members, and city and county officials were on hand for three tiers of groundbreaking.
Pioneers Medical Center CEO Ken Harman played host for the groundbreaking Friday of the new Pioneers Medical Center hospital. The $47 million project is expected to take about 15 months to open, roughly July 1, 2015.
Pioneers Medical Center CEO Ken Harman played host for the groundbreaking Friday of the new Pioneers Medical Center hospital. The $47 million project is expected to take about 15 months to open, roughly July 1, 2015.
The first groundbreaking group was made up of hospital board members, architectural representatives, construction officials, and special guest Dr. Gene Berry, now of Baton Rouge, La., one of four landowners who donated the land for the hospital facility.
More than 120 persons were present at the Friday groundbreaking for the new Pioneers Medical Center, located off Highway 13, about 2 miles north and east of Meeker. No service will be lost with the new facility but state-of-the-art technology will be joined with added services when the facility opens in 2015.
More than 120 persons were present at the Friday groundbreaking for the new Pioneers Medical Center, located off Highway 13, about 2 miles north and east of Meeker. No service will be lost with the new facility but state-of-the-art technology will be joined with added services when the facility opens in 2015.
The second level of groundbreaking included local town and county officials, community leaders and representatives of the student councils at Meeker’s schools. The third tier included other hospital administrators as well as the hospital staff, many of whom were on hand.
At the new facility, the community will experience the continuation of the current variety of care and will see new services:
■ The new pharmacy will be designed with specialized equipment to allow for chemotherapy and infusion treatments and on-site prescription mixing;
■ The new facility will attract additional specialists (cardiology, orthopedics, and pediatrics) to Meeker and help create a dedicated pediatric care program and outpatient area;
■ The Walbridge Wing will offer private rooms and give residents a home-like experience;
■ A modernized hospital for in-patient and out-patient patient services;
■ Upgrades to meet current healthcare standards for handicap accessibility, privacy and safety;
■ Flexible private rooms that can be adapted to isolation, bariatric or hospice care; and
■ A new Meeker Family Health Center that will include more exam rooms, three procedure rooms and an area dedicated to pediatric patients.
Ready to dig in with their shovels to break ground are the Pioneers Medical Center Board of Directors, architecture and construction representatives and special guests. The ground was broken Friday afternoon on the $47 million project, which is expected to be completed by July 2015.
Ready to dig in with their shovels to break ground are the Pioneers Medical Center Board of Directors, architecture and construction representatives and special guests. The ground was broken Friday afternoon on the $47 million project, which is expected to be completed by July 2015.
The total project will cost approximately $47 million and will take approximately 15 months to construct, meaning roughly the beginning of July 2015 for opening.
The project is being funded from reserves, a bank loan, grants and donations. (Pioneers initiated a five-year savings plan in anticipation of this need).
Pioneers believes it has assembled a talented team, Harman said. Davis Partnership is the architect on the project. They designed an 87,000-square-foot building to house the Meeker Family Health Center, Walbridge Wing, hospital and emergency department, and outpatient services. Haselden Construction will be the general contractor, and American Health Facilities Development is the owner’s representative.
“We are thrilled with the design” Harman said. “Staff input was a key ingredient to the design; staff gave great insight on patient needs and process flow. The final design is a functional, flexible plan.”
Haselden has a fantastic reputation; they have worked in mountain communities and have a wealth of experience with healthcare facilities, Harman said.
“We have been impressed with Haselden’s outreach to our community businesses,” he said.
Haseldan is implementing a fast-track construction process, which creates efficiency for time. Approximately 60 percent of the project has completed the bid stage and is on budget.
“Local businesses and individuals have had the opportunity to bid on various stages of the project, and several have aligned with various sub-contractors,” Harman said. “And if there is anyone here who is familiar with construction work and is looking for a job, they need to come out to the site and talk to us.”
Because of changing technology, healthcare delivery methods and changing patient needs, the current medical facility, located at 345 Cleveland, is no longer adequate to support the efficient delivery of care that Pioneers is committed to offering.
On a parallel track, but a separate project, is the installation of new water and sewer utilities to the Curtis Creek Industrial Park and to the Meeker Terrace subdivision, which houses the new medical facility.
That part of the project is in the final design and engineering stage. The extended line would begin from southwest of the Meeker Airport Road and extend for the roughly 2 miles to Rio Blanco County Road 15 (Thornburgh Road).
The Pioneers Medical Center board is committed to building a facility and investing in technology in order to offer a variety of healthcare services that match the needs of our residents, tourists and workforce, Harman said.
“We recognize that those services should address preventative, emergency, diagnostic, acute, surgical, chronic disease, rehabilitative, skilled nursing, pediatric-type, geriatric-type care and more,” he said. “We are excited to be in a position to provide Pioneers Medical Center, the Meeker Family Health Center and the Walbridge Wing with the resources, facility and personnel to prepare our community for the next 50 to 60 years of healthcare.”
Pioneers Medical Center is governed by the Board of Directors of the Eastern Rio Blanco County Health Services District, d/b/a Pioneers Medical Center, whose members are elected by the residents of eastern Rio Blanco County. Board members are: Paul Sheridan, Todd Young, Diane Dunham, Mike Hoke, Rich Ellsworth, Steve Parr and Terry Goedert.