The Trios Southridge Hospital has been a long time coming -- and it marks a new era for health care in the Tri-City community, officials said Friday.
A ribbon cutting celebrating the facility's imminent opening drew dozens of Trios officials, local dignitaries and elected leaders, including Gov. Jay Inslee.
"Just as Kennewick General Hospital was integral to the community for over 60 years, Trios Southridge begins a new chapter for the next 60 years and more," Inslee said.
The new 168,000-square-foot facility presents "an opportunity to renew the commitment to health care excellence, enhance services and expand reach into new areas," he added.
Trios Health used to be known as Kennewick General Hospital.
The new hospital, on Plaza Way in Kennewick, won't open to patients until July 15. But it's virtually finished, except for some last minute touch-ups, and staff in the coming weeks will train in the facility and prepare to shift much of the health system's hospital operations to the site.
Trios' original hospital, which opened in 1952 on South Auburn Street in the downtown area, will become a facility for women and children, with services such as pediatrics and a family birthing center.
An open house at the new hospital is planned Saturday -- the public's first and last chance to tour it before the summer opening.
The hospital has 74 private patient rooms, plus another 27 emergency and trauma services rooms and six operating rooms. Other features range from a multifaith chapel to a restaurant.
Inslee took a tour Friday before the ribbon cutting and was impressed, he said.
"It is so exciting to know that people will be walking through these doors ill and walking out healthy," he told the crowd during the ceremony.
"And family members will be walking in these doors really worrying about their family members and will be walking out in the confidence that they're getting as good of care as humanly possible."
He also touched on health care reform during his brief remarks, noting that more than 600,000 people have acquired new insurance coverage in Washington. He praised how the state has handled the process.
"Now that we've got those 600,000 people insured, it sure is great that we have a great hospital for them in a public setting to make sure that they can get care," Inslee told the crowd.
Other leaders also spoke, from Kennewick Mayor Steve Young to Jim Mefford, president of the Kennewick Public Hospital District board, which oversees the Trios Health system.
Mefford made reference to the long effort to bring the new hospital to fruition, saying it was no easy task but has been worth it.
He also paid tribute to those who founded the original Trios hospital.
"We don't see our transition to the new hospital as a departure from our past, but rather a testament to what the community dedicated itself to," Mefford said. "We're here because it was and still is greatly needed by our citizens. We plan to continue delivering on our ultimate promise to be there for all of them.
"We are proud to welcome Trios Southridge Hospital to the district and into the community it was built to serve," he said.
Dozens turned out for a cornerstone dedication at the new hospital earlier in the day. During that ceremony, steeped in tradition and ritual, members of the state's Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons checked the cornerstone to ensure it was level, plumb and square. They also sprinkled it with corn, wine and oil, symbolizing nourishment, joy and peace.
-- Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @saraTCHerald