Hospital celebrating 60 years of service

Enumclaw Regional Hospital will mark its 60th anniversary on June 15, 2009, as construction continues nearby on the state-of-the-art replacement hospital.

Six decades ago, Community Memorial Hospital – the facility’s original name – officially opened. That grand opening on June 15, 1949, followed a highly anticipated Memorial Day ceremony two weeks earlier when the hospital was dedicated in memory of 60 individuals from Enumclaw, Buckley and Black Diamond who lost their lives in World War I and World War II.

“Our hospital has been an important part of the quality of life in Enumclaw and surrounding communities for a long time,” said Dennis Popp, the hospital’s chief operating officer.

Enumclaw Regional Hospital handles more than 12,000 emergency visits annually and admits more than 1,100 patients every year. It is licensed for 38 beds.

“The hospital has a rich history and a reputation for quality care,” Popp added. “Equally important, its future as a state-of-the-art medical facility is set. The opening of our new hospital...will ensure that local residents have access to advanced medicine and trusted care, close to home, for generations.”

The hospital staff is planning a small ceremony and refreshments for employees to mark the aniversary.

Key milestones for Enumclaw Regional Hospital through the years:

• Pre-1944: Local physicians and community leaders begin discussing the need for a local hospital.

• Jan. 13, 1944: The Post-War Planning Committee hosts its first meeting and appoints a subcommittee to work on plans for a community hospital.

• 1944-1948: The first bond sale campaign nets $17,000 in local pledges.

• March 1947: The planned hospital is named Community Memorial Hospital to honor local residents killed during the world wars.

• May 30, 1948: Hospital construction site is dedicated.

• October 1948: Hospital construction begins.

• May 30, 1949: Community Memorial Hospital is formally dedicated to “the boys who lost their lives in World Wars I and II,” states a history of the hospital written by Violet V. Cass, who served as secretary of the hospital planning committee for several years. Her account adds: “The Veterans of Foreign Wars unveiled its beautiful plaque bearing the names of the war heroes in whose memory the hospital was dedicated.”

• June 15, 1949: Hospital officially opens with 22 beds. The first patient is a woman who suffered a leg injury.

• June 16, 1949: The first baby, a girl, is born at the hospital at 3:30 p.m.

• June 17, 1949: Construction cost of the new hospital is put at $152,995.43; equipping the hospital for patient care costs an additional $42,621.42.

• 1968: The hospital’s first expansion project is completed in which a wing and basement are added.

• 1999: Outpatient chemotherapy and imaging services are added. The hospital changes its name to Enumclaw Community Hospital.

• 2001: Hospital is selected as one of the Top 100 Hospitals in the U.S. for the first time by Solucient, an independent health care research and information organization.

• 2003: The Emergency Department opens its new triage room and unveils a new electronic medical records system.

• 2004: Hospital is designated as a Level V emergency center and designated as a critical access facility by the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

• 2005: Hospital opens new heliport.

• January 2006: Hospital changes its name to Enumclaw Regional Hospital. It is also selected as a “Most Wired Hospital” in the small and rural hospital category by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.

• May 2007: Hospital joins Franciscan Health System, the Tacoma-based organization that includes St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma; St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way; St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood; and St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor. Franciscan is affiliated with Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the nation.

• September 2008: Groundbreaking ceremony celebrates start of construction of $65 million replacement hospital.

• Late 2010: New hospital is scheduled to open across the street from the existing facility, on the north side of Battersby Avenue. It will provide all the services that are now offered, plus feature the newest medical and diagnostic imaging equipment. At 90,000 square feet, the new hospital will be large enough to accommodate additional and expanded services to meet the future needs of the community. The current hospital building will eventually be razed to make room for a parking lot for hospital patients, visitors and employees.

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