Contractors and a cleaning crew are busy tying up loose ends and tidying up Drew Memorial Hospital’s new $7 million patient wing in preparation for the grand opening and ribbon cutting Thursday at 1 p.m.

The new 42-bed patient wing includes “suite-like” private rooms, isolation rooms, bariatric rooms equipped for larger patients, a new nursing station, and many other amenities and features surrounding a central atrium with a waterfall.

“The rooms are second to none in Southeast Arkansas,” said Drew Memorial Hospital chief executive officer Mike Layfield said while conducting a private tour for Seark Today Tuesday afternoon, prior to Thursday’s grand opening.

Each room has approximately 15 safety features, a small sitting area with a recliner, chairs and a table to accommodate patients and their visitors, and eight of the rooms have a view of the atrium.

The new $7 million wing is part of a $14 million hospital expansion which includes an allied health building. The adjacent allied heath building is expected to be complete next month.

The hospital did not ask local taxpayers to fund the projects. They were funded through a $12 million low-interest USDA loan and $500,000 loans from each of  four local banks. Funding for the loan payments will be generated through hospital revenue, rather than taxes.

“This is a dream that has become a reality,” Layfield said. “We dreamed about this four years ago and through the efforts of our board, medical staff, USDA and banks all working together we are now adding this $14 million addition our hospital.

“By the way, the dream continues,” Layfield said. “Our next project is a new $8 million surgery center. So, we’ll have 42 new private rooms for our patients, a chemotherapy center, sleep center, physical therapy, and an outpatient psychiatric program, all in brand new accommodations to improve the health and well-being of our community for many, many years to come.”

Below is a video tour of the new wing. (Keep in mind the tour was conducted Tuesday afternoon while the hospital was busy getting the wing ready for the ribbon cutting so you’ll see a few mop buckets, workers scurrying about, and hear drills.)

[vimeo 38947338]