MOUNT VERNON, IL (KFVS) - Mt. Vernon's new Saint Mary's Good Samaritan Regional Health Center officially opened its doors and began transferring patients from the old hospital to the new one on Sunday morning.
The new facility stands five stories tall. And it's construction injected more than $230-million into the local community.
"It's our effort to raise the bar for healthcare in Southern Illinois," said Victoria Woodrow director marketing/public relations. "With the new facility we're going to be able to grow and expand. And serve the needs of Southern Illinois. That was one of our visions to be able to provide state-of-the-art expertise locally to the people that we serve."
Shortly after sunrise on Sunday the first ambulance rolled into the hospital with their first patient Terri Overton.
"It's an excitement that I'll never forget. And an honor to be the first one," said Terri Overton of Mount Vernon. "And I never thought that I would ever ride in a pink ambulance. I had all my friends with me and it was wonderful."
The patient transition was expected to take as long as seven hours to complete on Sunday and it'll take 18 ambulances to get the job done.
Each patient was given a prayer and blessing as they made their way through the doors en route to their new rooms.
And dozens of nursing students from Rend Lake College helped everyone get settled in to the new facility.
The hospital hosted an open house a couple weeks ago.
The new Good Samaritan Regional Health Center was built to replace the existing hospital, which has served the Mt. Vernon community since 1952.
The old facility will be torn down and it's existing site will be turned back into green space for future development in Mount Vernon.