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Plans to tear down old Cole County jail and sheriff's house move forward April 16, 2014

St. Mary’s construction begins

St. Mary’s Health Center and Alberici Constructors officials look over blueprints as a backhoe operator starts to knock down a treeline in the initial site-clearing for the new hospital. Clockwise from left, are Brian Renaud of Alberici, SMHC facilities director Mike Bock, SMHS president Brent VanConia, Tim Gunn of Ablerici and Beverly Stafford, SHMC director of marketing.

St. Mary’s Health Center and Alberici Constructors officials look over blueprints as a backhoe operator starts to knock down a treeline in the initial site-clearing for the new hospital. Clockwise from left, are Brian Renaud of Alberici, SMHC facilities director Mike Bock, SMHS president Brent VanConia, Tim Gunn of Ablerici and Beverly Stafford, SHMC director of marketing. Photo by Julie Smith.

A child might have likened it to a big, yellow dinosaur, hiding in the trees and then beginning to eat them.

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Shortly after 10 a.m. Monday, a large bucket on the end of a long boom began digging at the earth and removing trees — the first work on the first 40 acres that eventually will be St. Mary’s Health Center’s new hospital, just east of Missouri 179 in western Jefferson City.

“A lot of people have spent a lot of time and effort to make this day finally happen,” St. Mary’s President Brent VanConia said. “It’s a great day for the community and for St. Mary’s.”

Beverly Stafford, the hospital’s administrative director for marketing and planning, noted the start of construction “is a milestone we’ve been waiting on for quite some time.”

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