Moving day for Highland hospital patients

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HIGHLAND, IL (KTVI) - It was billed as one of largest construction projects ever in Highland, Illinois.

Thursday it all became a reality as a brand new hospital in Highland opened its doors for the first time.

Just a few minutes after the new St. Joseph’s Hospital opened at 6:00am, the very first patient arrived by ambulance.

The patient was one of 11 transferred to the new hospital from the old St. Joseph’s Hospital only about a mile or so away.

The old hospital closed.

Hospital CEO Peggy Sebastian says the new hospital has 25 patient rooms. They are all private.

Sebastian says the rooms promote the best possible healing environment, “They have canted headwalls that naturally turn the patient to the outside to be able to look through the windows and see Americana, Midwest Americana, out your window. And then also we made a family zone in the room so that the family can sleep in and stay with patient.”

The new $63 million facility also features state-of-the-art medical technology.

“New CAT scan, new PET scan, new MRI. Those are the things that help patients get diagnosed quickly and get treatment quick,” explained Sebastian.

Ground was broken in April of last year.

Highland resident Barbara Wick, who has lived in the community for more than 50 years, says a new hospital was long overdue, “This morning when I went past it and saw the ambulances you know, I got goose bumps knowing that this was the day, this is what we’ve been waiting for for many years.”

A major medical building is also part of the hospital campus.

Some patients who need specialized care will still be transferred to other facilities. But there are plans to expand the hospital in the future.

“We will grow and evolve with the community with community need,” said hospital division president Mark Reifsteck.

Patients are also able to Skype with loved ones from their beds and there are no restrictions on visiting hours.

The hospital is being paid for with private funds, including more than $4 million raised in the community.

Time lapse video shows the construction of the new $63 million hospital over the past 16 months.

See the time lapse: