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Our Opinion: St. Mary’s mission constant amid change

News Tribune editorial

We join other enthusiastic community members in welcoming construction of a new St. Mary’s Health Center.

An estimated 300 people gathered at a Wednesday ceremony to break ground for the $200 million complex, scheduled to open by January 2015.

The ground-breaking event followed last week’s opening of the Missouri 179 interchange providing access to the health center’s Mission Drive location in western Jefferson City.

When completed, St. Mary’s personnel will move from the prominent hilltop location that has served as its home for more than a century. During that time, the facility has been expanded and remodeled several times.

The complex to be constructed will include a 375,000-square-foot hospital and a 90,000-square-foot office building.

The new facility will provide a full range of health care services, feature 167 patient beds and accommodate more than 1,100 employees and affiliated physicians.

At the ground-breaking, local government officials touted the new facility’s economic benefits, which are substantial.

Jefferson City Mayor Eric Struemph characterized construction as the single largest economic development project in the city. He added: “I have heard figures from the Chamber of Commerce that say the ripple of this project is up to $500 million.”

Cole County Presiding Commission Marc Ellinger called St. Mary’s “an anchor for this community” that “has helped expand this area into what it is today.”

A vital component of St. Mary’s Health Center that must not be overlooked is the spiritual aspect.

Health care will continue to change with advances in medicine, but a constant in St. Mary’s mission is “revealing the healing presence of God.”

That will remain an integral part of St. Mary’s service in the community.

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