In late November, I took a tour of the almost-completed Beartooth Billings Clinic, Red Lodge's new combination clinic/hospital. When I got back to the office, I was sorely tempted to write a one-word article: "Wow!"
Kelley Evans, the hospital CEO, walked me through the 48,000 square foot building and explained what was going where. Barely two weeks from the open house/ribbon cutting, with patient occupation less than a month away, the place was still a flurry of activity. Tile was being laid, partitions erected, countertops fitted, railings installed, and furniture moved. Boxes were everywhere, along with ladders, toolkits, extension cords, plastic, and buckets.
But Kelley was unconcerned. With palpable pride, she walked me through the emergency room, operating room, laboratory, CT scan room, exam rooms, trauma rooms, offices, and more. Only two years after the groundbreaking ceremony, the $18 million facility is almost complete.
Like most Red Lodge residents, it's taken me a while to figure out exactly what's going on. The structure is complicated, but the basics are easy to follow. The Memorial Hospital Association (MHA) will be doing business as "Beartooth Billings Clinic." MHA owns the new facility, as well as the old hospital, and directly employs the physicians and staff that are moving over from the old hospital.
Billings Clinic, which owns the building on Oakes Avenue in downtown Red Lodge, will be leasing its employees--including doctors--to MHA. To the patients, the clinic and hospital will operate as a single entity. All visiting physicians will continue to be able to use Red Lodge's hospital facilities.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house will be on Saturday, November 6, from 2-5 p.m. Everyone is invited. Patients will be moved into the new building on Thursday, November 18. The new Beartooth Billings Clinic is located at 2525 North Broadway, on the west side of the highway.
The view from the therapy/recovery area. "The construction people have a contest to see who spots the most bears on the hill," Kelley told me.
Kelley accepts the $13,775,000 check from the USDA (guaranteed by First Interstate Bank) that really got things going two years ago.
The groundbreaking ceremony, Sept 18, 2008.
A permanent display in the front lobby lists the donors
whose generous contributions made the hospital possible.
In keeping with the traditions of Red Lodge, this stone high
up on the front of the building marks the date of completion.
One of the highly creative cakes from the groundbreaking ceremony.
Almost everywhere in the hospital that patients go has outside light. This is the patient services area above the front lobby.
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