Hospital administrators, board members, staff, and members of the community met on Tuesday to break ground on a $1.3 million facility in Clewiston that will relocate physical therapy offices closer to the main hospital compound. The facility will also house additional medical offices that will accommodate new doctors. According to Glenda Wilson, Director of Marketing/Foundation for Hendry Regional Medical Center, the new medical office and physical therapy center will be a 7,000 square foot building that will contain the hospital’s physical therapy unit – now housed at a nearby plaza and a medical office that is expected to provide medical space for doctors.
Ms. Wilson explained that the hospital’s board of directors determined that rather than paying rent to offer physical, occupational, and speech therapy away from the main campus of the hospital, that money could be reinvested into a new medical office built from the ground up to provide the best services possible for residents. Already, an orthopedic surgeon is expected to arrive in September and will move into the building when it is completed. The hospital is hoping to recruit new physicians to the area for the remaining medical office space.
A large crowd met at the site of the new facility, 525 West Sagamore Avenue in Clewiston, to take part in the ceremonial first “dig” of the site before construction, and a short presentation was held.
One of the speakers at the event was Steve Nisbet, who serves on two boards associated with the hospital, the Hendry County Hospital Authority Board, where he serves as vice-chairman, and the Hendry Regional Medical Center Foundation, where he serves as chairman. Mr. Nisbet is especially proud of the work of the foundation to raise money for the construction of the facility. About two years ago, the hospital board gave a request to the foundation board – whose primary purpose is to raise funds for the hospital – to come up with half of the cost for the construction of the new medical building.
Since its inception in late 2005, the HRMC Foundation has provided approximately $3.5 million to Hendry Regional Medical Center, which includes $125,000 from WISH, for various projects in LaBelle and Clewiston. Through fundraising events such as the annual Foundation Social Celebration at the Hilliard Cabin, employee donations, annual giving events, and other efforts, the foundation board has taken on this facility project with a passion, raising somewhere around $300,000 of the $650,000 the board hoped it could raise. According to Mr. Nisbet, The foundation is aggressively seeking to come up with the full amount, a goal it expects can be achieved by the end of the year. “This is an expansion of the great healthcare we deliver here in Hendry County,” said Mr. Nisbet during the event.
One of those in attendance was R.D. Williams, Hendry Regional Medical Center CEO, who spoke about the contractor selection process. According to Mr. Williams, the hospital has received bids for the general contractor services for the construction of the new facility. Where possible, the hospital will give preference to local companies and contractors, according to the administrator. The CEO was happy to see the project moving forward and hopes that the community will utilize the new facility. Steadily, he explained, Hendry Regional is improving. “This is our 65th year serving the county and the third year I’ve been here with the organization,” said Mr. Williams. “We’ve made progress every year, not just financially, but with client satisfaction also. The community has nothing to be ashamed of with the quality of care we provide. This is their hospital, too.”
Those interested in helping to fund this new facility may contact the Hendry Regional Medical Center Foundation by calling 863-983-2735. Donations may be sent to: HRMC Foundation, 544 West Sugarland Highway, Clewiston, FL 33440.