Crystal City, Mo. - The weather on Monday morning could not have been much better, and the ground-breaking event that kicked off construction of the new patient tower and renovations at Mercy Hospital Jefferson nearly matched the sunny, bright and breezy day.
Following an opening prayer from Auxiliary Bishop Edward Rice, Gov. Jay Nixon acknowledged his father Jerry, who was one of the founding members of Jefferson Memorial Hospital in the 1950s. Nixon also praised the many people involved in bringing the construction project together.
“Progress is made by people working together,” Nixon said. “Hospitals are not defined by their size, but by the health care they deliver in the community.”
Nixon talked about Mercy’s commitment to Joplin following the 2011 tornado that killed hundreds and destroyed the hospital in that city. He mentioned the rebuilding in Joplin while introducing Mercy President and CEO Lynn Britton, who introduced Mercy Jefferson President Eric Ammons.
“Today Mercy continues delivering a promise, but we can’t do it alone,” Ammons said. “It takes every one of us. We are all a part of the complex picture of health care in our community.”
Following Eric’s comments groups took turns putting pieces into a large puzzle picture of the new patient tower. Participants represented local clergy, the Sisters of Mercy, co-workers, Mercy Clinic physicians, EMS, the County Health Department, Mercy Health Foundation, city, county and state government, the community advisory board, the Mercy Board, construction companies, nurses and clinical staff, cardiology and women’s health.
After the puzzle was completed, Lynn Britton directed the crowd of several hundred people to a ceremonial groundbreaking in front of the Emergency Department entrance. A photo gallery of the ground-breaking ceremony is posted at: http://bit.ly/MercyJeffCeremony.
In addition to a new three-story tower, featuring 90 private patient rooms, construction will include a new front entrance and many other enhancements to improve the experience for patients and visitors.
Anyone with an internet connection can keep an eye on the construction project progress. Three remote web cams are taking photos of the site. Pictures can be viewed at http://oxblue.com/open/Mercy/JeffersonTower including a time-lapse feature.