Panama City - Wednesday began a new chapter for local healthcare, as Bay Medical Center officials cut the ribbon on their brand new patient tower. The facility has 144 private patient rooms, a new intensive care unit and a new surgery wing.
What began as an idea five years ago became reality Wednesday with the grand opening of the new Bay Medical Center Patient Tower.
Locals have been able to watch the progress of the $70 million project rose into the sky at the corner of 6th Street and Martin Luther King Blvd. over the last two and a half years. Hospital board members say it was worth the wait.
"It's amazing! It's more beautiful than I ever dreamed it could be. This is something the citizens of Bay County should really be proud of. I mean, it is state of the art," said Greg Brudnicki, Bay Medical Board Member.
Each of the private rooms has comfortable overnight accommodations for a family member, flat screen TV’s, wi-fi connectivity throughout, and what the hospital is calling 'gourmet' food.
The tower will become the new entrance to the entire hospital, and will house most of the public area, such as "The Garden Cafe," which opens Thursday.
This facility has been a long time coming. Everything from a state-of-the-art kitchen, to new private patient rooms, which doctor's and patients have been raving about.
"When I first came here I argued for private rooms where a man could have a heart attack in peace, and finally we're getting it," said Dr. James Cook.
In 2003, Bay County Commissioner Jerry Girvin was gravely ill and spent many weeks as a Bay Medical patient. He says this new facility will be a benefit to the entire region.
"I think it's a long time overdue. Bay Medical has always had world class doctors, because I’m still here, but now they have a world class facility for those folks to practice there art in. It's tremendous," said Girvin.
Staff will begin moving patients into their new rooms Friday. The entire project came in under budget and about a month ahead of schedule.