A portion of Highland Clarksburg Hospital is officially open. The child and adolescent unit has 35 beds and is the first area of the hospital to be up and running.
The 150 bed hospital will provide behavioral health services and employ close to 300 people. It will treat people with both mental and substance abuse issues.
The rest of the hospital is expected to open in early 2014.
The wait is almost over in Clarksburg, as Highland Clarksburg Hospital is about to reopen after a long legal battle. And when it opens its doors Monday, staff members said they will be happy to see the old building put back into use.
"Honest to goodness, as you know, Highland had to fight for the certificate of need to get the building going, and in the meantime I was working for Highland, I've actually been here three years, and one of the things that worried me was, if it didn't go, what would happen?" said Dale Freeman, director of facilities services at the new hospital.
Freeman worked in the building while it was still the old United Hospital Center, and he was just one of the staff enjoying Friday's open house, which gave the public the first look inside the newly remodeled center. The new hospital will be one of the most high-tech in the state. It will only open one wing for now, but Freeman said he's looking forward to the extra people it will bring to the area once all the beds are ready.
"I used to live in this end of the community, and when it left, when UHC left, it did drop, you could tell, there wasn't as much traffic out here and now, we're going to have a lot of traffic now," Freeman said.
While the hospital will provide some hard-to-find services to North Central West Virginia, it will also provide something just as important: jobs. And lots of them. The staff has quadrupled to 60 employees over the last month, and there's plenty yet to come as the hospital is completed.
"We'll bring on an additional 115 beds, and those will be for adult services, some different versions of adult services, and when we do that, we'll need to hire anther 200 employees, maybe more, and we'll need to get them all hired by January," said Highland Hospital's Eric Kennedy.