As Mercy prepares to open its new campus, it seems fitting that the public was invited to be part of the celebration. Thousands of people turned out for a public open house March 7 at the new Mercy Hospital Joplin, 100 Mercy Way.
The campus replaces the former St. John’s Regional Medical Center, destroyed in Joplin’s May 2011 tornado.
“It was hard to say goodbye to the building that was home to St. John’s since 1968,” said Gary Pulsipher, president of Mercy Joplin. “But like the rest of the city, we are glad to be moving ahead and looking to the future. While we will never forget what happened there, we’ve had amazing support throughout the rebuilding process. The new hospital and clinics mean so much for the city’s recovery, as well as for our patients and co-workers.
After an opening prayer, Lynn Britton, president and CEO of Mercy, helped kick off the March 7 ceremony.
"I can't help but think back to another morning, almost four years ago," Britton recalled. "I stood at another podium, with another microphone, and promised our co-workers their jobs were secure, and promised our community we would rebuild their hospital. It gives me great joy today to report we kept our promise."
Britton says Mercy needed the advocacy and support of Governor Jay Nixon and Shivan Subramamiam of FM Global, who came in person to promise the resources required. "We needed the innovation of McCarthy, John Farnen and their teams to build structures impervious to another storm," he said. "And we were blessed by the outpouring of time, talent and treasure from so many, including the United Arab Emirates. Their pledge of $5 million only a few days after the storm inspired an entire campaign of giving. Led by an amazing steering committee, the campaign helped raise $15 million from donors around the world."
"The Sisters of Mercy are very proud of what has taken place here," Sister Mary Roch Rocklage added, as she introduced Gov. Nixon. The governor spoke about Mercy's dedication to the community, adding that Mercy's decision to rebuild sent a strong message to Joplin that it was not being abandoned.
“We’ve anticipated this day for years,” Pulsipher added. “The open house was our opportunity to celebrate another milestone with all of those who have cheered us on this journey.”
Following a hospital blessing, public tours of the nearly 900,000 square-foot building were offered through the afternoon. The facility features physician clinic space as well as a full-service, acute care hospital, emergency department and cancer center.
Mercy is the fifth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves millions annually. Mercy includes 35 acute care hospitals, four heart hospitals, two children’s hospitals, three rehab hospitals and two orthopedic hospitals, nearly 700 clinic and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.