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Wednesday morning marks the official opening for the new $50-million Sonora Regional Medical Center in Sonora.

Construction of the brand new, state of the art medical facility off Greenley Road began almost two years ago. The new facility will be fully staffed and receiving patients first thing in the morning.

“We will begin moving patients at 6 a.m.,” hospital Relocation Coordinator Lynn Gates explained. “That´s officially when Sonora Community Hospital will close and Sonora Regional Medical Center will open.

Hospital marketing director Gail Witzlsteiner said they will be functioning as two separate hospitals during the morning transition period. “We´ll have both hospitals in operation until the last patient has been moved,” she said.

Several ambulances and support vehicles will be used to transfer about 30 patients from the old Sonora Community Hospital and the new medical center complex across town.

“We´ve developed a plan,” Lynn said. “We have three different move routes in case we have a blockage in traffic in one area or another.” After that is complete, the old campus on Forest Road will be closed.

“At that time, should someone have need to go to the emergency room and they do want to use our services, starting at 6 a.m., they really need to go Sonora Regional Medical Center,” Witzlsteiner said.

“This is a very exciting time for everyone,” Lynn added.

The new hospital has a staff of 850 employees and is home to a medical staff of nearly 100.

Adventist Health is the parent company for the facility and took over management of the Sonora-area hospital in 1961.

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