Most of the talk, in regards to the current WMC facility, is doom-and-gloom. It needs some work, sure. It’s out of date, yes. Staff needs more space, duh. It’s kind of an eye-sore, ouch.
Let’s not forget that this building has served the community since 1968, back when it was Wrangell General Hospital, spawn of Bishop Rowe. So in hopes of breaking up the negative press aimed towards our faithful facility, I’d like to take a moment to complement our current home for healthcare as the old gal nears her 50th birthday.
With Bishop Rowe nearing a half-century of service, ground was breaking on Wrangell General Hospital, just a stone’s throw away from the Ried St. address Wrangellites were used to visiting for their medical needs. Healthcare had come a long ways since the 20’s and it was just time to move up the road to a new, modern home.
Doors opened in July of 1968 with an open house in Wrangell General. In 1975, the community welcomed the addition of a Long Term Care wing. By 1989, a need for more room was addressed and modular units that would become the front of the house (ER/Clinic/Imaging/Lab) was slapped onto the east side of the building. Aside from construction of the gazebo and transforming the Clinic into the Physical Therapy wing, the campus has remained largely the same for nearly three-decades.
The building continues to cheat death and exceed its usable life, but there will be a time in the near future where we have to close the doors and drive a mile up the road. The fact is, patients could be more comfortable with upgrades and more space, and WMC staff wouldn’t have to work five times as hard to care for these patients, which is what they’re dealing with every day. Many employees are wedged in inconvenient locations, usually with little storage, and probably in a room that was designed to be anything but an office.
Just like Bishop Rowe before her, WMC will soon make way for a more modern option. Healthcare has come a long ways since the 60’s and it’s again time to move up the road. WMC may be limping towards the finish line, but she’s going to make it.
Want to pay some respects to WMC? We’re going to celebrate her 50th and you’re more than welcome to come. Mark your calendars for Friday, July 27, and make your way to the hospital for lunch and treats. Time is TBD, but I think it’s a safe bet to assume we’ll be hosting in the 11:00 am – 1:00 pm range. If you were born at Wrangell General Hospital/Wrangell Medical Center, we’d love to pile everyone in front of the building for a class photo. Stay tuned for more details, but we want to serve you a hot dog while you enjoy our hospital. She pre-dates Woodstock and the moon landing, which probably deserves an atta girl.