WHEELING HOSPITAL officials unveiled their much-ballyhooed Tower 5 Wednesday afternoon. The new facility did not disappoint. Spacious and state-of-the-art are at the forefront.
It officially opens Monday.
Wheeling Hospital CEO Ron Violi says completion of the $53 million addition is not the end but rather a new beginning, he noted the hospital had ran out of room and Tower 5 now presents more accommodation, more private rooms and more opportunities.
The tower's first floor is for Emergency/Trauma Center; second floor houses the Center for Pediatrics; the Center for Critical Care in on the third; and fourth floor surgical unit. The fifth and sixth floors are still work in progress and are targeted for more patient rooms and medical services. Physician offices top the tower on floor seven.
Violi credits Bishop Michael Bransfield for the vision while touting teamwork among all of the hospital's employees in making the project a reality.
"The tower was three years in the planning. Every hospital employee was asked to give input on the project. If someone didn't offer ideas it is because they did not want to," Violi said. "The new tower will keep more people in the valley, instead of going to Pittsburgh or Cleveland.
"Our emergency department handles about 46,000 patients a year. With the new tower, we expect that number to grow to 55,000," he added. "It also means new jobs. We have added 20 new nurses to accommodate the expected increase."
One of the most impressive facts of the new tower is that it is larger than the hospital itself, encompassing 144,000 square feet.
Tower 5 is obviously a shot-in-the-arm to medical care in the Ohio Valley and also to the health of the local economy.
AS?NOTED on Page A1 in today's edition, Bellaire School District officials have returned to the drawing board in an attempt to find a funding request that is favorably received by the majority of voters.
I expect a huge turnout at the Bellaire High cafeteria Thursday at 6 p.m. The four attempts at the ballot box to secure more money for the district have been soundly rejected.
District Superintendent Tony?Scott and the board will bring a new option to the floor Thursday. Constructive feedback and input are needed that night from district residents to enable school officials the gauge the viability of their latest plan.
THE BELLAIRE Board of Education held an auction this past week for the property located across from the old West Bellaire School along Ohio 149. It sold for $14,250. Roger Barack was the successful bidder. Some 15 people attended with four being serious bidders.
THE MASTERS golf tournament was as riveting as ever a week ago. Bubba Watson, pink driver in hand, was a popular winner. But how far the mighty have fallen -- people now feel sorry for Tiger Woods and his temper tantrums.
RICK SANTORUM'S decision to toss in the campaigning towel came as a shock to many of his supporters. But the former Pennsylvania senator finally realized what we have been saying all along, Mitt Romney was a lock for the Republican nomination. Santorum's exodus at this point, however, does set him up as a plausible veep selection. His strong conservative roots would be a boost to Romney.
SPEAKING OF Romney, his wife Ann took a cheap shot from a Democratic pundit Thursday, saying she "had never worked a day in her life." Mothering five children is no day at the park. Even Barack Obama came to her defense.
MEADOWBROOK HIGH School has launched a $600,000 football stadium renovation project. The work has received a boost when a community-based group pledged to match $300,000 of the work. No taxpayer money is being used. The project includes artificial turf.
THE OHSAA has opted to expand the Ohio state prep grid playoffs to seven divisions. It is a good move to separate the 72 largest schools into their own division since their enrollment dwarfs the rest of the Division I schools. The remaining six divisions will each have 108 schools, with 32 qualifying for the playoffs. That will make the postseason a more frequent occurrence for our teams as nearly one-third of all football-playing schools will be playing in Week 11.
Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader online.com