By Brian Knox | Wise County Messenger
GOING UP – The first walls of Wise Health System’s new fitness facility were raised this week. Hospital CEO Steve Summers said the facility will likely open in January or February of 2017. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty
The Decatur hospital has changed quite a bit in the last 50 years.
On Monday, Wise Health System CEO Steve Summers provided the Decatur City Council with an update on current operations and construction projects.
Perhaps the most visible project locally is the ongoing construction of the hospital’s sports medicine building just north of the Fit-N-Wise building.
The 70,000-square-foot facility will include two basketball courts, a mezzanine level with a walking track, two pools (one indoor, one outdoor) and weight equipment and will house all physical and occupational therapy as well as a sports medicine clinic.
The project is expected to cost around $16 million when factoring in equipment costs.
“It’s a little bit higher than we anticipated two years ago, but it is also a bit bigger than we anticipated when we started talking about it two years ago,” Summers said. “We’re looking at being finished up around the end of this year and maybe operational within the first month or two of 2017.”
Ground is expected to be broken within a couple of months, he said, on the new surgical hospital on Interstate 35 and Crawford Road in Argyle. It will include six surgical suites and 18 beds and is expected to be near operational by the end of next year.
Wise Health System also operates a surgical hospital in the Alliance area.
Summers said that while the hospital is expanding services into new markets, it won’t be at the expense of local patients.
“The reason why we are doing those things, and reaching outside of Wise County to do this, is to support what we do back here,” he said. “This is home. It will always be home.”
Work to convert space in Wise Health System’s Bridgeport campus into a surgery center continues, Summers said. The facility, which is currently an urgent care center, is located in the former Doctor’s Hospital.
He said the state licensing office is not used to seeing a surgery center located in a larger facility.
“They are used to seeing a free-standing surgical center, so all the rules and regulations are designed for a building contained unto itself,” Summers said. “There’s had to be modification to the infrastructure to accommodate what the state wants to see there. We think we’re home free on that, and it will push on ahead.”
He also shared what he called “fun numbers” about the hospital, including:
The Decatur Hospital Authority was created in 1967, and Decatur Community Hospital opened in 1973. In 2001, the hospital’s name was changed to Wise Regional Health System, and last year, the name was modified again to Wise Health System.
Summers explained that the “Regional” part of the name didn’t seem to fit with the recent expansion into more urban markets.
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