Memorial East opens for business

Memorial Ribbon Cutting

Assembled dignataries cut the ceremonial ribbon at Memorial East. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

SHILOH – Memorial Hospital East, a $124.6 million project eight years in the making, is now open for business and treating patients.

It was standing room only for a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony on Sunday, April 10, just outside of the new facility. Despite a brisk wind and the constant threat of rain, the crowd was upbeat and joyful.

“This is an exciting time for any of us who are in any way, shape, or form a part of Memorial and any of us in southwestern Illinois,” said Mark Turner, President of Memorial Regional Health Services. “This started with four primary objectives. We wanted to improve the access to care for patients for members of our community. We wanted to improve the quality of care. We wanted to improve the patient experience, and from that we developed a fourth objective which was an all private suite hospital.”

“As we open Memorial Hospital East, this is a culmination of all of the teamwork, planning, design, and effort by our Memorial community and our southwestern Illinois community,” Turner continued.

“As you can imagine, a person in my position goes to a lot of ribbon cuttings. I’ve never witnessed a standing room only turnout with this much support from a local community. This is fantastic,” said Steve Lipstein, President and CEO of BJC HealthCare. Memorial entered into a strategic partnership with BJC back in January, 2016.

There was a good deal of reflection over the past eight years and the whole construction process during the speeches given at the dedication ceremony.

“This is a great day for all of us. I think back to 2011 when I first heard the news that we were building a new hospital. I didn’t think then that I would be the project leader, but I think, standing here today as we’re two days away from opening, what a wonderful time this has been. We have a great task ahead of us but our mission will remain consistent. We will provide exceptional healthcare and compassion,” said Ruth Holmes, Administrator of Memorial East.


Memorial Ribbon Cutting

Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier said “I couldn’t be more pleased with the vision and leadership that has surrounded this project from start to finish” during his remarks at the Memorial East dedication ceremony on Sunday. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier remarked about the significance Memorial East will have on the village.

“Historically residents of Shiloh and the surrounding area have had to travel out of town, sometimes for long distances, to obtain state of the art healthcare. But that ends with the opening of Memorial East. Now Shiloh can boast having the first new hospital in our area in more than 50 years. The opening of this facility not only offers our residents quality medical care, but also has created new jobs and new economic opportunities for our community. I still remember vividly the day Mark Turner called me about bringing a new hospital to Shiloh and, as mayor, I couldn’t be more pleased with the vision and leadership that has surrounded this project from start to finish,” said Jim Vernier.

Shiloh and O’Fallon were on full display during the ceremony. The US Transportation Command Joint Service Color Guard presented the flag, while members of Cub Scout Pack 40, Boy Scout Troop 40, Girl Scout Troops 234, 357, 641, 742, and Venturing Crew 837 led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. Additionally, the Shiloh Middle School Chorus, under the direction of Lori Hirst, sang for the crowd. Finally, the O’Fallon High School Jazz Combo performed to keep the guests entertained during breaks in the program.

The hospital officially opened and began to treat patients at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 12.

Memorial East consists of 207,212 square feet over five stories. There are 94 private patient suites. Services provided at the hospital include an emergency department, medical and surgical services except for open heart and neurosurgery, an intensive care unit, obstetrics and gynecology, diagnostic services such as x-ray and respiratory, cardiac services, inpatient rehab, and physician offices.

The lobby of Memorial East will be named after O’Fallon residents Frances Heien and her late husband Gary, who made a $1 million pledge to Memorial Foundation’s Capital Campaign.

“It is indeed our pleasure and gives me great satisfaction to support Memorial Hospital East,” said Frances Heien.