TEXARKANA, Texas -- CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System held a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday with a crowd of a few hundred people attending.
The future location of the emergency center is 4250 Gibson Lane and will contain 12 beds to provide additional services to the region. The health system's president, Jason Adams, said the expansion will help the hospital serve an additional 24,000 patients each year.
"Today, we take the next step for our community, providing better service for our family, our friends and neighbors and better access (to healthcare)," Adams said.
ER doctor and CHRISTUS Regional Director Faber White said the new building will be a full-fledged emergency department with board certified and resident-trained emergency physicians, highly experienced nurses and support staff, along with an onsite laboratory and imaging capabilities.
"When people come to this facility, they're not only stepping inside a nice, new, shiny facility with highly efficient processes and highly trained personnel that are able to give them the best care.
"They're setting foot inside a full health system with literally hundreds of physicians and specialists that stand ready to deliver that care in the event that somebody's being admitted to the hospital. That's a really cool thing," White said.
Both of the Twin Cities' mayors gave speeches endorsing the build.
"When a person is involved in an emergency, seconds matter. It can mean the difference between life and death. Having local emergency centers across the city provides quick emergency care for those who are seeking it," said Texas-side Mayor Bob Bruggeman.
Bruggeman noted there are 88,024 households that make up the Texarkana Metropolitan Statistical Area, and 73.6% of those households had a medical related office visit within the last six months.
The ground was blessed by the Rev. William Burmester, who prayed for safety over the construction workers who would build the new health venture.
After the program completed, 10 shovels dipped into purple-hued sand and signaled a new beginning.
"This has been a year in the planning, so we're very excited to get moving forward and break ground and have a new site of service for the local residents of the ArkLaTex region in 14 months," Adams said.
Adams additionally said the first phase of employment will bring 35 new jobs to the region, with more to come in later phases.