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Clinic celebrates expansion project
Times photo: Brenda Steurer Mike Sanders, president and chief executive of Monroe Clinic, opens the northwest addition groundbreaking ceremony Thursday in the lobby of the clinic, with area leaders and community members in attendance. Artist renderings on the new facility were unveiled in June at Monroe High School. The $85 million project will add about 210,000 square feet to the facility.
MONROE - Members of the Monroe Clinic Board of Directors celebrated the beginning of construction for an $85 million addition to the facility with a groundbreaking Thursday at the clinic.

Area leaders and community members attended the event, which marked the end of five years of planning by over 200 members of a design team.

Monroe Clinic's new 210,000-square-foot northwest addition is expected to be completed in 2012.

Sister Mary Noel Brown from Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes and executive leader of the Monroe Clinic Board of Directors noted the relationship the sisters of St. Agnes have had with Monroe for 70 years and the construction of the original hospital facility in 1938.

The sisters, filled with hope and excitement, have a continued commitment to the health care facility in Monroe, she said.

Monroe Clinic President and CEO Mike Sanders said that, while health care is different today than it was 70 years ago, the original "mission and vision is very much alive."

"Modern health care requires modern facilities," he said.

The new addition will allow for an expanded emergency department, provide for a covered emergency helicopter landing pad and expand the family birth center.

A new chapel with a roof-top meditation garden, a new cafeteria with outside eating areas and all private rooms also are in the plans.

"A project of this scale happens only every 30-40 years," said Board Chairman David Deininger. "It is another step toward achieving quality health care in the community."

Mayor Ron Marsh called it "a great day."

The clinic could bring more efficient health care, continued and new employment, more commercial and manufacturing, and families to the region, he said.

"The vision now becomes a reality," he said.

Julie Wilke, Monroe Clinic vice president and administrative lead on the project, and board member Dr. Rachel Long also spoke at the ceremony.

Blustery winter weather Wednesday postponed the groundbreaking ceremony.