The summer of 2012 was big for Preston Memorial Hospital as it established land and a certificate of need for its brand new hospital, but perhaps the summer of 2013 is better.
Tuesday, the hospital announced its partnership with Mon Health Systems, securing the final piece of the puzzle.
"Preston Memorial Hospital is going to become the newest addition of the Mon Health System, and join Mon General Hospital as one of two premier hospitals in our growing healthcare organization," said Glenn Adrian, the Chairman of Mon Health System Board of Directors.
Tuesday's announcement helps secure $38.5 million Preston Memorial needs for its new hospital.
Preston County Commission President Craig Jennings calls the announcement the biggest he's seen during his tenure on commission.
"The biggest question in peoples' minds here in Preston County was, 'are we going to be able to afford this?'" Jennings said. "I think now they will rest at ease knowing we have a partner now that will help us bankroll this and I think it's just positive from here on out."
Preston Memorial Hospital will become the fifth leg of Mon Health Systems, joining Mon General, Mon EMS, Mon Healthcare and the Village at Heritage Point.
In 2007, Preston Memorial began preparing to build a new facility. The more 83,500 square foot hospital will have 25 private rooms and provide new and expanded service.
"Healthcare, as I said is every changing it's so competitive and it's very difficult as a small rural community hospital," said Preston Memorial President Melissa Lockwood. "We always say we're not competing with a Mon General or a Ruby Memorial Hospital, but on some fronts you do from time-to-time. This will secure that financial future. "
"We have to get people cared for closer home," said Mon General President Darryl Duncan. "We know they'll be more compliant with our health care, the costs will be lower, we know they'll have better access. If you can bring high quality services to a local community, it works out on a lot of different levels."
The new hospital will be located on land near Preston High School. The ground breaking ceremony is expected to come later in September. The hospital is scheduled to open in the spring of 2015.