The two-campus Memorial Health Care System of Chattanooga, Tenn., has completed a $318 million renovation project that the system's leaders said will enable the facilities to meet increased demand for health care services.
The renovation that began in 2011 included the construction of a seven-story bed tower, the upgrading of operating suites and the addition of a cardiovascular intensive care unit and a clinical decision unit at the system's Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga. The clinical decision unit separates outpatients needing chest pain observation from inpatients and emergency department patients, in part to decrease wait times and improve the flow of the emergency department. The project also included an intensive care unit and emergency department expansion and the addition of medical-surgical beds at Memorial Hospital Hixson in Hixson, Tenn. The two campuses' combined bed count of 405 did not change with the renovation.
The health system had planned to begin the construction in 2008, but put a hold on the project due to the economic downturn. The system revamped original construction plans when it restarted the project three years ago.
Memorial Health Care raised $15 million in donations to help fund the construction. The top givers, the Guerry family, contributed $4 million; and the new bed tower is called the Guerry Heart and Vascular Center in their honor. Family patriarch Alexander Guerry Jr. was president and board chair of the Chattanooga-based health care products company Chattem — he died in 1990. His son, Zan Guerry, succeeded him as president and chairman of the board upon his father's death. The elder Guerry helped to establish Memorial Hospital and other family members serve or have served on various hospital boards.
Other top donors to the campaign were Fred and Bettye Skillern, Barbie Standefer and the estate of Marguerite Lehman. The Skillerns, who are associated with the Dixie Souvenir company, gave $3 million for a cancer institute in honor of a son who died of cancer. Standefer, whose family owns car dealerships throughout Chattanooga, gave $1 million toward a lung center completed as part of the master facilities plan. The estate of Tennessee Valley Authority employee Lehman gave $1 million toward a cardiac rehabilitation center.
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