Cloudy skies and drizzling rain didn’t dampen a celebratory spirit as Parkwest Medical Center held a ribbon cutting ceremony and introduction to the hospital’s new Dogwood Tower on Friday, Nov. 22. Parkwest leaders, employees and physicians were on hand for the event, along with Covenant Health leaders and representatives, special guests and community officials.
The $100 million expansion and renovation project includes a new patient care tower, additional operating rooms, a dedicated entrance for surgical patients and a patient discharge area, a clinical observation unit for medical and surgical patients, and relocating the helipad closer to the emergency department. The expanded facility “footprint” also includes additional parking to create a campus-like feel for Parkwest.
Neil Heatherly, Parkwest President and Chief Administrative Officer, welcomed guests and provided details about the project and its significance to Parkwest’s patients, employees, physicians and the community. He related some of the hospital’s history, and recounted some of the challenges and “memorable moments” of a large-scale construction project, noting that Parkwest continued to serve patients in record numbers while the expansion project was underway.
During his remarks Heatherly commented, “Today marks the ceremonial ending of our expansion construction. But for the Parkwest family, this is the exciting beginning. Today is simply monumental for us. This is more than the addition we call the Dogwood Tower. It’s a transformation and next step forward, a step we take with immense pride, excitement and gratitude.”
Jim VanderSteeg, Covenant Health President and CEO, spoke about the health system’s commitment to meeting the needs of a growing community and described Parkwest’s expansions since the hospital opened in 1973. “Each project built on the shoulders of those who came before, including the visionary physicians who established Parkwest. The hospital’s founders would surely take great pride in knowing the hospital has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams,” he said.
Jay Fitzsimmons, chairman of Covenant Health’s Board of Directors, spoke about the health system’s commitment to excellence. He noted that the community counts on Covenant Health and Parkwest, and will depend on Parkwest for many years to come.
Jeffrey Fuqua, MD, anesthesiologist and chief of staff at Parkwest, shared the medical staff’s support for the project. He noted its importance in providing excellent patient care and fulfilling Covenant Health’s mission of improving the quality of life through better health.
Bryan Hair, chief of staff for Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, spoke about the importance of access to excellent healthcare for people living in the area and for companies considering local business opportunities.
Following the remarks, designated guests assisted with the ribbon cutting and attendees toured portions of the Dogwood Tower. The tower will open for services in mid-December.