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Construction is on schedule at the new Sonora Community Hospital. Hospital project coordinator Val Devitt explained the new 61-bed health care facility on Greenley Road is about 65 percent finished.

“The fine tuning is what´s out there now, like finishing the dry wall and that sort of thing,” Devitt said.

Systems at the hospital will be ultra-modern, and state-of-the-art. The emergency room area will be 50 percent larger than the present one and will include a trauma room and a heliport.

Surgery will be performed in four high-tech surgery suites,complete with plasma screen closed circuit television monitors. Three more suites are designed into the new structure to be built in the future as growth warrants.

Work is already started to plan the moving of equipment, staff and patients from the old facility near the fairgrounds to the new one on Greenley Road when it´s completed.

That´s quite an undertaking Devitt said.

“We´ve hired a firm that helps hospitals move,” Devitt said. “And they´re assisting us in organizing that.” They will come in about six-weeks before the actual move to tag and label every item in the old hospital for the move, he said.

Devitt said another firm will do the physical moving of all the equipment, supplies and patients.

“The patients will actually be moved within a 12-hour period, all in one day,” he said.

Designers of the new hospital have also planned future growth into the new structure.

Devitt says the 122,000-square-foot healthcare facility is already set for expansion.

“We´ll open with 61 beds and we´ll have 11 bed areas shelled-in that can be completed as needed,” he said. “So, it´s a matter of as the need grows,we´ll build those out.”

The new hospital, and two medical office buildings yet to be built, will be home to 40 physicians and have a staff of at least 850 employees on the 18-acre Sonora campus.

The hospital should be open for patients by mid-year 2003.