Hundreds of community members flocked to Memorial Hospital Thursday for an open house celebration of the facility's new medical clinic and personal care home expansion building. An official ribbon cutting ceremony included short speeches from hospital President Gary Baker, board member John Schoonover, Vice President of Development Carol Sager and State Rep. Tina Pickett.

Baker thanked those involved with the design of the new building and said a facility of its caliber is not common in the local community.

"Thanks to the board (of trustees) for pulling this off," Baker commented.

The new facility consists of three stories, with the first floor being dedicated to an expansion of Memorial Hospital's personal care home. The expansion adds 20 beds to the hospital's offerings with a total of 14 private rooms and three semi-private rooms.

The second and third floors of the new building are dedicated to medical exam and procedure rooms, which will give doctors the benefit of added work space. In total, 36 exam rooms and 4 procedure rooms are spread throughout the two floors.

An informational sheet states the total investment for the new building is $7.5 million with an objective of providing state-of-the-art medical services and facilities that will enhance the quality of life of residents, patients and families in the communities the hospital serves.

During Pickett's speech, the congresswoman said she is highly impressed with the personal care facility.

"(It's) like building homes for people," she explained before commending hospital staff for the "mindful design" of the personal care home. A comment from Pickett on having reserved a room with an outside balcony brought laughter to the crowd.

Sager addressed the crowd by announcing only two available beds remain in the personal care home, which opened officially on Monday.

She concluded by stating, "It's because of the community that we're able to do this."

Tim Zyla can be reached at (570) 265-1634; email: tzyla@thedailyreview.com; or Twitter: @TimZyla.