More than 100 turned out on a cold day Tuesday for the Trinity Medical ribbon-cutting ceremony on the Ferriday-Vidalia Highway.
Billy Rucker cut the ribbon for the new hospital and then cut the cord with Riverland Medical Center, retiring Tuesday after the event.
"Billy wanted to retire last year, but I talked him into staying until we cut the ribbon on the new hospital," said Riverland Board President Jim Graves, who served as Master of Ceremonies at the event.
Rucker worked 20 years at Riverland, serving as administrator from 2013 to 2017. He spent the last three years serving as special projects manager for Trinity Medical.
"It's like giving birth. I want to thank the staff, administrative board and doctors,” he said. “This facility is more than I expected. I don't believe there is a better or prettier facility from New Orleans to Memphis. It's overwhelming."
Graves thanked Gov. John Bel Edwards and former state representative and current Clerk of Court Andy Anders for their unceasing aid for the $3.5 million in capital outlay funds that purchased the new hospital equipment.
Following the ribbon cutting, Trinity Medical officials led tours with 10 people or less at a time to tour the facility.
Construction of the 61,000 square-foot hospital and 17,000 square-foot medical office building began in March 2019. The hospital is expected to open in early January after surveying and licensing from the Louisiana Department of Health is completed, officials said.
"This is another step forward," said Trinity Medical Administrator Sam Ellard. "It's something else we can check off our list. I'm thankful to everyone who attended, and hope they enjoyed the tour. There are more good things to come."
Sunrise Behavioral Center will occupy the building when Riverland moves into its new facility next year.
The new business is an adolescent inpatient behavior facility for ages 7-17.
Sunrise Behavioral Center CEO Paul Coburn of PKC Investments LLC in West Monroe said the new facility will initially employ 25 people, but looks to employ 60 six months after it opens and eventually increase to 100.
The project is also being funded by a $30 million United States Department of Agriculture loan, new market tax credits and financing through United Mississippi Bank.
Graves said approximately $3 million was put back into the local economy during the construction process.
Later Tuesday, Riverland board members held a special meeting to approve resolutions to establish a Hospital Bond and Interest Sinking Fund Bank Account; establish a Hospital Revenue Bond Reserve Fund Bank Account and to establish a Hospital Depreciation and Capital Asset Fund Bank Account.
"Those were adopted so we can do a closing on our USDA loans later in the month" Ellard said.