Donors aid Memorial Hospital

Donors aid Memorial Hospital

March 15th, 2012 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Fundraisers Bill Stacy, left, and Zan Geurry speak at a news conference at Memorial Hospital to discuss a $318 million expansion of the hospital's facilities. The plan will expand the Glenwood and Hixson Memorial campuses.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.


$318.3 million - Cost of Memorial's four-year upgrade and expansion of Glenwood and Hixson hospitals

$15 million - Goal of private fundraising campaign to match Catholic Health Initiatives investment in new facilities

580,500 - Square footage addition or replacement at the two hospitals

4,020 - Tons of stone for backfilling of construction sites

184 - Tons of structural steel for new 7-story patient tower and other upgrades


1946 - Hamilton County Memorial Hospital Association is chartered to raise $2 million for new hospital. H. Clay Evans Johnson is chosen president

1947 - Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, a Catholic order in Bardstown, Ky., is selected to own and operate Memorial Hospital

1952 - Memorial opens with 185 beds in Glenwood after three years of planning and construction

1963 - Five-story south wing added

1982 - Medical Building East is dedicated and obstetrical service is closed

1983 - $12 million surgery center opens

1993 - Memorial outpatient surgery center opens in East Brainerd

1997 - New chapel, lobby, entrance and outpatient services center open

1998 - Memorial purchases North Park Hospital in Hixson

2007 - MaryEllen Locher Breast Center opens

2011 - Memorial breaks ground on $318 million plan for hospital expansions

A year after starting the biggest expansion in its 60-year history, Memorial Hospital on Wednesday launched a public campaign to raise a record $15 million from private donors to enhance to hospital upgrade.

"This is a transformational health care opportunity in Chattanooga," said Zan Guerry, the chief executive of Chattem Inc. and chairman of the Hamico Foundation, which is pledging several million dollars to Memorial. "Raising this $15 million will allow some special things to be added to what Memorial is already doing and really helps make Chattanooga a better community."

Memorial officials announced Wednesday that $8 million already has been pledged from private donors to help match more than $300 million being pumped into Memorial by its owner, the Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives.

Memorial began a $318.3 million, four-year plan last year to expand and renovate both its Glenwood and Hixson facilities. Memorial is building 580,000 square feet of new buildings, including expanded operating rooms, a 7-story cardiac bed tower, expanded intensive care units and a state-of-the-art Hybrid Operating Suite. The hospital improvements also include a new children's learning center and updated patient rooms and operating facilities at both campuses.

"We've continued to grow at Memorial, and we're trying to make certain we have the patient environments that are most effective and efficient for providing very high-level, tertiary care," Memorial President James Hobson said Wednesday over the whir of nearby bulldozers. "We need a 2012 physical plant to help deliver 2012 medical services."

Memorial initially planned to undergo a massive rebuild of its Glenwood campus in 2008. But those plans were delayed for nearly three years "when the recession hit and the whole world sort of turned on its axis," Hobson said.

The current plan was revamped and now also includes upgrades at North Park Hospital in Hixson, which Memorial bought in 1998.

Guerry and Dr. Bill Stacy, who have worked on fundraising campaigns for UTC and Baylor in the past, are co-chairs of Memorial's new capital campaign. Memorial raised $5 million to build and equip the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center in 2007 and the new campaign is designed to raise three times as much.

Stacy said he is encouraged by both the clinical and faith-based commitment of Memorial, the 405-bed hospital which the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth initially built in Glenwood in 1951.

"Catholic Health Initiatives (the successor owner of Memorial) is making a huge capital infusion in our community and we have a chance with this fundraising effort to add another layer of excellence to this plan," Stacy said. "It's almost like pulling up a turnip and replanting a turnip all at the same time. We've had 60 years of great service from Memorial and now we have a chance to rebuild and shoot for another 60 years."

Dr. Eric Conn, a cardiologist with the Chattanooga Heart Institute, said Memorial is emerging as a regional and even national leader in cardiac care. He said the new facilities being built in Glenwood will help to support both a growing number of physicians and allow for better patient care and family support.

At the center of a new 7-story patient tower will be a new chapel.

The Memorial Foundation, the fundraising arm of the hospital, said gifts from Mitch and Deborah Everhart are supporting The Heart Center and gifts from Davenport family and from the Lehman family at the bequest of Marguarite Lehman are supporting the new Joseph H. and Alice E. Davenport Outpatient Infusion Center.

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