SANDWICH — One year after breaking ground, administrators and staff at Valley West Hospital welcomed the community to an open house for the new patient wing on Saturday.
Several hundred people attended the event, which included self-guided tours of the new patient rooms, waiting areas, patient check-in and gift shop. In addition, the new donor wall was unveiled and a family waiting area was dedicated and named for longtime and recently-retired employees Mike and Jenelle Muzzillo.
Before the brief dedication ceremony, Mike Muzzillo said he was overwhelmed.
“We fought through some battles,” he admitted, “but this is a great organization.”
“All along, Mike was the impetus behind this addition,” said Brad Copple, president of Valley West and Kishwaukee hospitals. “He pushed hard for this to be a reality.”
“This is a representation of the staff,” Mike Muzzillo said. “No matter what they faced, they have always cared about providing the best care for their patients.
“This means a lot to us.”
Mike Muzzillo said he worked in various capacities for the hospital for about 47 years. Jenelle Muzzillo worked there as a nurse for 40 years, starting as a nurse’s aide at the age of 16.
“I stayed here for 40 years because it’s a family,” she said. “It’s the love of family that kept us together.”
The 21,400-square-foot addition provides 19 private patient rooms and two observation rooms. Medical/surgical and intensive care units will move into the $11.2 million addition when it is approved for occupancy. Officials believe that approval will come in about a month.
After those units move, the facility’s oldest wing, which faces Pleasant Avenue, will be demolished and replaced with a modern facade. Additional interior renovations are also planned.
Impressed with the facility, Jeanne Baker of Leland said, “We love it. It’s so impressive. I told the staff I would have to get sick just so I could stay here. They said, ‘no, don’t do that.’”
Visiting with her husband, Richard, she said their son was born at Sandwich Hospital 65 years ago. At that time, the hospital was on Main Street. The building was razed to build Willow Crest Nursing Pavilion at 515 N. Main St.