Building exceptional care

Memorial Medical Center opens $15 million expansion

By Ken Grabowski
Pioneer News Network LUDINGTON — Tuesday was a day of celebration at Memorial Medical Center (MMC) in Ludington. After working around construction crews for the past 14 months, officials at MMC officially welcomed the public on Tuesday afternoon for its grand opening of a new $15 millon expansion to the facility. The addition included a new front door to the medical center and made additions to the emergency and surgery departments. It also expanded the centralized outpatient services. “This is a big day for us,” said Memorial Medical Center board of directors chair Al Deering. “I have a great board of directors, and would like to thank them for helping bring this forward.” Memorial Medical Center President and CEO Mark Vipperman said the interest in the project by the community has been overwhelming in the past year. He said it all centered around building exceptional health care that came about as a result of a very dedicated board directors and staff. “Building exceptional health care is a strategic initiative that started about five years ago with our master facility plan, and really evolved over those five years,” he said. “I want to share how significant the board was in making this happen today. They were involved in planning, evaluation and authorizing a project of this magnitude. It would have been easy to say let’s wait a little longer as health care has been turbulent, but the board demonstrated tremendous vision and courage to do the right thing to serve the community.” Members of the board who were singled out include Deering, Charles Dillon (vice chair), Ken Rocco (secretary), Jeanne Oakes (past chair), Mark Lenz (treasurer), Steve Stribich DO (chief of staff), Darin Gurzzian DO (vice chair), Anthnoy Fabaz DO, J. Dean Gustafson, Margaret Gustafson MD, Connie Krusniak, Anthony Monton, Allen Nelson MD and Jim Scatena. “This addition is really evidence of the board’s commitment to the community,” said Vipperman. “It has been an overwhelming effort by the entire Memorial Medical staff and not any individual or entity.” Vipperman also praised the efforts of Dan LaMore, of Christman Construction, who served as the project manager, and Mike Perry, of Progress Architects who designed the addition. The president and CEO also extended his appreciation to the community as a whole. “We disrupted this campus, our entrances and parking area during the course of this construction,” he said. “Our patients have shown a great deal of patience with us, and we can’t thank them enough. Our physicians, volunteers, and staff have been very tolerant of the changes and very flexible. Everyone stayed focused on the target.” Also speaking during the ribbon cutting ceremony was 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland). He said that other representatives from around the country know of the special nature of the west coast of Michigan, but he said it goes beyond the beautiful scenery. “It is not just the geography — it is the people, and I have to commend you on this building to provide exceptional health care,” said Huizenga. “It has been a long time coming since ground was broken in June 2012, and with the challenges we see in health care, I want to commend you.” State Rep. Ray Franz (R-Onekama) added that the addition is something that is very positive to the community as a whole. “This establishment will add another incremental part to make Mason County and Ludington a place to expand and grow,” he said. “This will make that whole area the place to grow with development. That is probably one of the most important parts.” Others who spoke at the ceremony were Ludington Mayor John Henderson, LaMore and Perry and chief of staff Steve Strbich. Emergency care director Ruth Sommerfeldt delivered the invocation. There will be an opportunity for the public to view the new addition from 4 to 6 p.m. today.