About 100 people, including the entire JE Dunn construction crew, gathered under cloudy skies and a partially completed roof Thursday noon to enjoy a sausage barbecue meal and to mark the unofficial halfway point of the Hillsboro Community Hospital facility.
Marion Regier, HCH chief executive officer, welcomed the gathering of workers, local leaders, hospital employees and other invited guests to the construction site at the corner of U.S. Highway 56 and Industrial Road.
“We look forward to a long future of service to our community,” Regier said. “We have built a current team of skilled employees who are dedicated to providing for our community’s health-care needs.”
Regier recalled the official groundbreaking ceremony that occurred on the site Dec. 14, 2010.
Mayor Delores Dalke picked up on the 2010 event, referencing the commemorative coffee mug she took home as a souvenir.
“I have drank out of that cup every day for breakfast because I believed this was going to happen,” she said.
“As time went on, things got a little slower,” she added. “People would come around and say, ‘Delores, how much longer are you going to keep running for mayor?’ I would say, ‘Until the hospital gets finished.’
“They said, ‘That’s not going to happen.’ But I had a lot of faith it was going to happen and here we are.”
Since the start of construction in April, the crew has lost around 30 working days because of rain. But Regier said the $11.4 million project is expected to be completed by the mid-April target date next year.
“The place is wonderful,” Dalke said. “This will be absolutely fabulous when it’s finished, and thank you all for being here and having faith that we will be here and we will have this new hospital.”
Larry Arthur, CEO of HMC/CAH Consolidated and Rural Community Hospitals of America, the company that owns the local hospital, said the project has been a team effort.
“The credit doesn’t go to us, the credit goes to all the other people that have made this happen,” he said, including local city leaders.
“Hillsboro’s very lucky that all those people believed this community was deserving of a hospital,” Arthur said. “I think you’ll prove them right in the long run and prove us right. I’m just as happy as I can be to be here.”