New Guttenberg hospital building fully functional - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New Guttenberg hospital building fully functional

GUTTENBERG (KWWL) -- Monday marked the first fully-functional day for Guttenberg Municipal Hospital's new building.

The nearly $20 million building is up and running 50 years after the first Guttenberg Municipal Hospital building opened for business in 1961.

Joy Meyer is an expectant first-time mother who may give the new building its first delivery.

"It's nice. Kinda cool to be the first one," Meyer said.

Of course, the obstetrics and gynecology department is only one of the departments in a new and improved space.

"We're used to being cramped, smaller," pharmacy technician LeAnn Esmann said, of the pharmacy's newfound space. "The way the medical field changes so much, you don't know what's coming down the road, so it's nice to have the space to do stuff."

The new building includes a landing pad for a helicopter, which makes life easier for patients being transported, the medical professionals trying to treat those people and the person flying the helicopter. Previously, helicopters had to land in a nearby church parking lot, meaning all the cars had to clear out before the patient arrived.

Larger single rooms mean more patient privacy.

"More room to work with your patients directly," registered nurse Donna Jensen said. "You don't have to worry about patient confidentiality [like you do] when you're in the room with a roommate."

In a process that began Monday, deconstruction of the older facilities, which were built in the late 50s and 70s, will eventually lead to more parking space.

"Anybody coming into the community, this should be a draw for them, that we have a nice hospital," Jensen said. "Good school system, good hospital, good jobs in the area."

The entire project is slated for completion by June. After that, the oldest part of the hospital will have been built in 1995.

Hospital leaders say they have been looking to update the facility since the early 2000s, citing aging building infrastructure in the 50s and 70s parts of the structure.

The new building was funded with $2.3 million from Guttenberg Municipal Hospital, $1.2 million from the community and $16 million from the USDA.

The hospital serves a surrounding area of about 20,000 people. Other nearby cities with hospitals include Elkader and Dubuque.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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