Steven W. Looney
Monday, March 2, 2009 Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains celebrated 50 years of service to the area.
A campaign began to develop West Plains Memorial Hospital in 1954.
After 56 months and a community campaign to raise the $350,000 needed to match federal funds, the hospital became a reality.
With ground breaking March 24, 1957, the new, modern 42 bed hospital was underway.
On March 2, 1959 West Plains Memorial accepted the first patient.
As the community and surrounding areas grew, the hospital continued to expand with more beds and more services to the community.
Expansions in 1970 added 24 more beds and the intensive care unit.
With a second expansion in 1974 and a third in 1978, the hospital added more staff and services to meet the needs of the community.
In 1985, West Plains Memorial Hospital was renamed Ozarks Medical Center.
As technology has developed, and the area has grown, OMC has continued to expand and add services to meet the needs of the community.
The 50th year celebration held in the main lobby, featured presentations from OMC President and CEO David Zechman, along with leading OMC staff members and community leaders.
As part of the presentation, items from the 1957 and 1993 time capsules were unveiled.
The time capsule items along with the moving wall, showing the history of the hospital, are on display in the main entrance lobby.
There were many people on hand who were on the list of original donors, as CEO Zechman cut the ribbon, while board members looked on, celebrateing 50 years of growth and service.
With the new emergency room still under construction, CEO Zechman said, "All of this growth and expansion has put OMC in the position to be a leading health care provider and has made the organization able to offer amazing services to the region. OMC in 2009 is a far cry from the original 42 bed facility, which served 40,000 people with 60 employees. With 114 beds, OMC serves an 11 county area, employs 1,000 people and utilizes the services of more than 100 physicians."
The original board can look back over the past 50 years and enjoy the fact that their vision has become real, and a vision into the future will continue.