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      Multi-million dollar hospital expansion means quicker care for patients

      Memorial Medical Center in Ludington has officially started construction on it's $14 million dollar expansion project.

      Monday afternoon, hospital administrators and employees gathered together for a special ground breaking ceremony, celebrating a project, that promises to enhance patient care and create jobs.

      This expansion has been a long time coming and is very-much needed. Right now, the emergency room is serving twice the amount of patients that it was originally designed to treat.

      This $14.7 million dollar expansion has been in the works since 2008 and four years later, the project is finally in motion.

      CEO and President of Memorial Medical Center Mark says, "Our total focus on this project is to create a better patient experience. We talked about how do we become easier to navigate, so often patients can get lost on a hospital campus. We wanted things to me more intuitive, we wanted to be an easier point of access fro our patients!"

      The expansion includes a new emergency room and the remodeling of Memorial Medical Center's surgery department, with the addition of a fifth operating room.

      Another highlight of the project is a new main entrance facing Ludington Avenue, which means improved access to outpatient services. This will result in quicker, more quality care for patients.

      Tim O'Callaghan, Memorial Medical Center's Chief of Staff says, "Right now with the logistics of the hospital, there's a lot of walking from place to place. Everything is going to be consternated, localized so when patients walk into the hospital, all the things they need are going to be right there. The Cardio Pulmonary Department and the X-Ray Lab will all be centered in one location for patients."

      This new phase of growth not only promises enhanced care for patients ing Mason County and portions of surrounding counties, but also the creation of new job opportunities.

      Most of the money to pay for the project is coming from construction bonds. The new expansion should be complete by December of 2013.

      The expansion will also include a new Helipad and resumed emergency air ambulance services direct from the hospital. And once the new emergency department opens, there's plans to convert the current ER to a new Endoscopy Center. MMC employees have already pledged to raise money for this addition to the project.

      To check out a virtual tour of what the finished product will look like, click on the video above.