MADISON – At the groundbreaking for the new Boone Memorial Hospital in Madison, the community and dignitaries from across the state lauded the building of a new state-of-the-art health facility in Madison.
Ground was broken for the new Boone Memorial Hospital with golden shovels and lots of cheering and smiles.
“This is a great day for Boone County!” said Boone County’s state Senator Dr. Ron Stollings (D-Boone). “This new hospital will provide state-of-the-art care in our rural region, and it will also create 40 new jobs in the county.”
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, representatives from U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, the Boone County Commission, many other state, local and federal officials, as well as the Boone Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, staff and the community all came out to the joyous occasion.
“Since 1964, Boone Memorial Hospital has been an asset to the coalfields of southern West Virginia,” Tomblin said. “There are so many people that contributed to this happening, but most of we must thank Boone Memorial Hospital Director and CEO Tommy Mullins. He has been he for the entire 50 years of the hospital’s existence.”
Mullins was honored and humbly thanked his staff and everyone that has worked, volunteered or been associated with the hospital.
“We started small, but we were just as excited back then, 50 years ago, as we are today,” Mullins said. “I want to give thanks to the employees and dedicated staff and boards that have served the hospital over the years. They do all the hard work and I get the credit.”
Mullins said back in 1964 it cost $1,050,000 to build the new hospital. Today’s new hospital will cost approximatelty $35 million.
Mullins said the ground breaking was 12 years in the making.
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) argued for increased Federal investments in expanding access to quality medical care in rural areas.
“If you were asked to list the most valuable gems in a community’s treasure chest, certainly a hospital would always rank near the top,” Rahall said. “ All of us here know how vital it is to have healthcare as close to your front door as humanly possible. Add the hard numbers of Boone Memorial’s contributions to the local economy – the payroll and jobs created, the local contracts, enhanced tax base – and its value soars. That’s why reinvesting in community hospitals is a no brainer, and something I strongly support.”
The new Boone Memorial Hospital is supported by a $31.8 million low-interest loan from the USDA Rural Development, which Rahall advocated and announced in 2012. Rahall has consistently supported USDA Rural Development funding and been a vocal opponent of proposed budget cuts in rural health care.
“It’s a great economic boost for the community. We will be adding to the payroll to support the facility and we’re hoping the community will see this as a great asset to our area,” said Mark Linville, Boone Memorial Hospital COO.
The project is expected to take two years to complete.
(Fred Pace is the Editor for the Coal Valley News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-369-1165, or on Twitter @fcpace62)