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As Expansion Continues, Hospital Marks 50 Years Since Opening

By Cece Nunn, posted Jun 14, 2017
New Hanover Regional Medical Center's new staff parking deck, under construction across from the main campus on South 17th Street, is shown Wednesday morning. (Photo by Cece Nunn)
As construction continues on a new parking deck across from its midtown main campus, New Hanover Regional Medical Center on Wednesday marked the date of the hospital's opening 50 years ago.

On June 14, 1967, the integrated New Hanover Memorial Hospital opened its doors and welcomed seven premature babies in cardboard cradles, according to the NHRMC website's history page. On the same day a half century later, signs of the hospital's continued expansion were evident as McKinley Building Corp. crews worked on a new staff parking deck across from NHRMC's main campus, 2131 S. 17th St.

The $18 million five-story parking deck and pedestrian bridge are expected to be complete later this year. Two cranes at the main campus are already in place for another project, construction of a three-story, 108-room orthopedic hospital over NHRMC's surgical pavilion, with a ground-breaking expected to be held at the end of the month, said Claire Parker, hospital spokeswoman.

The estimated completion year for the new orthopedic hospital, which will replace the NHRMC facility on Wrightsville Avenue, is 2019, with an anticipated cost of at least $87 million.

On Wednesday, hospital officials delivered about 1,000 yellow roses to patients at the main campus, the current orthopedic hospital, and Pender Memorial Hospital in Burgaw as part of its 50th anniversary celebration, Parker said. At an event tonight that starts at 6 p.m., NHRMC officials will dedicate a new garden area at the main entrance of the main campus and unveil a symbolic sculpture by local dentist William Salling.
(THEN AND NOW: Move the slider on the photos below to see the difference in NHRMC's South 17th Street campus in 1967 and 2016.)
 
NHRMC was established when two segregated hospitals merged to create New Hanover Memorial Hospital.
 
“Fifty years ago, the opening of New Hanover Memorial Hospital marked a bold step forward for Wilmington and New Hanover County. The integration of our hospital was an incredible accomplishment during a time of turmoil and unrest,” said NHRMC President and CEO John Gizdic in a news release. “Since then, the hospital has grown into New Hanover Regional Medical Center, an organization that continues to lead our thriving community in financial strength, civic partnership, and above all, health and wellness.”

Expansion projects over the past 10 years have included the hospital's Surgical Pavilion and the Betty H. Cameron Women's and Children's Hospital, which opened at the main campus in 2008, and the new Nunnelee Pediatric Specialty Clinics location in Autumn Hall, which opened Monday.

The release said NHRMC contributes about $145 million worth of care for the poor and has an impact of more than $1 billion annually on the economy of New Hanover County.

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