DEDICATED TO HEALING AND HOPE: Gathering for the ceremonial groundbreaking held August 31, 2022 on the site of the new Grande Ronde Hospital expansion were (from left) Union County Commissioner Paul Anderes, GRH Surgical Services Department Chair Dr. Gerry Funk, GRH President and CEO Jeremy Davis, GRH Foundation Board Vice Chair Tayde McAndie, GRH Board of Trustees Chair Teri Champlin, Hospital Facilities Authority Chair Libby Goben, La Grande Mayor Stephen Clements, Bouten Construction CEO Bill Bouten, and PKA Architects Senior Project Manager Thane Eddington.
LA GRANDE – On Wednesday, August 31, 2022, a diverse crowd of Grande Ronde Hospital employees, local officials, neighbors, friends and representatives from both Bouten Construction and PKA Architects gathered together at the campus construction site for a ceremonial groundbreaking.
During his welcoming remarks to the crowd, GRH President and CEO Jeremy Davis noted the event marked “the beginning of a new era in health care for the patients and communities we serve.” Davis went on to say that the day was a celebration of more than just the groundbreaking of a construction project.
“To me this project represents our past, present and future. From a very humble beginning in 1907 when four local physicians built the first hospital in Union County to the thousands of employees, volunteers, providers and patients who have left their mark on GRH over the past century; and to today and this significant investment in health care services that will be the future of health care in Union County.”
Davis went on the thank both former and current GRH employees and providers, noting that the day would not have been possible without them.
“We have been through a lot these past two years especially, and your unwavering commitment to this community is inspiring,” he said. “As rural hospitals and communities face increasing uncertainty, we don’t want health care in Union County to be a source of insecurity amidst a world of insecurity and conflict. When construction is complete, this new facility will encompass almost 96,000 sq. ft. of space dedicated to healing and hope.”
GRH Board Chair Teri Champlin has served on the hospital board for nearly nine years and noted during her remarks to the crowd that the remodeling of operating rooms has been a topic of discussion since the beginning of her tenure. Champlin made a point of thanking the public for supporting GRH.
“(Your) support is deeply appreciated, and we hope this building will serve our community well for many, many years to come,” Champlin added.
Surgical Services Department Chair Dr. Gerry Funk joined GRH in September of 2014. He mentioned that during his time here, he has seen tremendous effort put into recruitment and creating an environment that makes provider recruitment possible.
“I’ve literally seen GRH emerge as a regional health care system – and that has been a wonderful thing, but as you all are aware – with growth there are needs. We have gotten to a point where our facility resources need to be expanded to support and optimize these efforts,” he said.
Rounding out the opening remarks was Bill Bouten, President of Bouten Construction, Spokane. He mentioned that after his grandfather started the company in 1944 one of the first projects was a hospital.
“Over the course of our history, we have specialized in health care work, so we know this type of project very well. And what I would tell you is unique about building a hospital project in a rural community is that it’s different from building in Spokane or Tri-Cities. What’s different is, we often hear people refer to the hospital as ‘our’ hospital. When you go to Spokane, or some other city, they don’t say ‘our’ hospital because there are multiple hospitals. The reason I’m telling you that is we understand how important the work is that we’re doing in this community. It becomes part of us, and part of our team. We understand the importance of the work we are doing here in La Grande.”
Robin Richardson, Senior Vice President of MODA Health, drove from Portland to show his support for GRH and the project. That evening, he posted a public statement:
Grande Ronde is a community hospital and its ground breaking ceremony was reflective of that…Grande Ronde has been an incredible owner/partner in the Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization (EOCCO) since its inception.…Congratulations to Jeremy and the entire team at Grand Ronde Hospital on this new expansion and to the Community of La Grande which continues to benefit from having a wonderful Health System expand to serve it even better.