Catholic Healthcare West and the Sisters of Mercy dedicated and blessed the grounds of Mercy Gilbert Medical Center on Thursday.
The medical center is Gilbert’s first full-service hospital now under construction on a 60-acre lot on Val Vista Drive south of Pecos Road. The four-story, $145 million center is scheduled to open in 2006.
The Rev. Monsignor Richard W. Moyer sprinkled the ground with holy water after saying a prayer with Sister Mary Waskowiak, president of the Sisters of Mercy, a cosponsor of the medical center.
Waskowiak also offered a medal of Mary to be buried under the medical center as part of the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy.
"It’s wonderful to be where the seeds are being planted," said Waskowiak, who was visiting from San Francisco. "It means the needs of the people are going to be met."
In 1895, the Sisters of Mercy founded St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.
About 150 people came out for the dedication and blessing Thursday, including sisters from California and Arizona, staff from Catholic Healthcare West and community leaders. An airconditioned tent was set up near the steel beam foundation already constructed for the diagnostic and treatment center. Kitchell Contractors broke ground on the former alfalfa field in March.
Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman said he is ecstatic about the medical center.
"My goal for Gilbert is for it to be a real town," said Berman, who likened it to an analogy of Pinnochio. "With a hospital, we’re not the little place anymore."
David Covert, president and CEO of Catholic Healthcare West, said the area was chosen because of high growth and the future Santan Freeway stretch of Loop 202.
"This particular part of Gilbert is a good area and an ideal location for patients to travel to," said Covert, who is also the chief administrative officer of Chandler Regional Hospital, a division of Catholic Healthcare West.
Mercy Gilbert Medical Center will offer several health services, including emergency services, radiology, cardiology, women’s services, general surgery and neurology.
The center will open with 100 private rooms and the capacity to grow to 400 beds.