New Porter County hospital has 2-day open house
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent August 11, 2012 3:58PM
Chief Nursing Officer, Taffy Arias (2nd from right) shows visitors one of the new NICU rooms at the new Porter County Hospital in Valparaiso on Saturday August 11, 2012. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media
If you go
The public can tour the new Porter Regional Hospital, 85 E. U.S. 6, from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. The hospital opens Aug. 25. To learn more about the hospital, visit www.porter
Updated: September 13, 2012 6:26AM
VALPARAISO — The Porter Regional Hospital sign atop the new facility is still covered by a white tarp, but the hospital’s doors opened Saturday for public tours.
And the public responded — hundreds of people lined up to check out the building, at 85 E. U.S. 6, kicking the tours off early. Halfway through the three-hour open house, more than 800 people had passed through the front doors and a sign reading, “Welcome to the Future of Healthcare.”
The five-story, $210 million hospital opens Aug. 25, when the old hospital, on LaPorte Avenue downtown, shuts down. The tours, which continue Sunday, offer visitors a chance to check out much of the building, including departments, such as the intensive care unit, that they — hopefully — wouldn’t get the chance to see otherwise.
“We never want to see you again except to say hello,” Susan Kloss, Porter Health System’s director of training and development, told a group as they went through the emergency department.
Response to the new facility was good, Kloss said, and visitors even took pictures with their cell phones.
“They’re looking at this as, what a blessing to have this in our community, and they want to check it out before they really need it,” she said.
That included Pat and Warren Buckler, who live in Jackson Township. Pat said she’s been to the emergency room in the old hospital numerous times — not always for herself — and that included a Fourth of July trip when a family member fell down stairs.
Because there weren’t enough beds, Buckler and her daughter-in-law had to wait in the hallway at the old hospital, so Buckler was pleased to hear the new facility would have both more beds and more staff.
“It’s wonderful, I think. It’s bigger and more efficient and there are more qualified people here,” she said, “and I’m getting older. I may need this — that’s why we want to see it.”
Frances and Rapard Marton also live nearby, in Liberty Township. Frances retired in 2009 from Porter after working there for more than 30 years as a lab tech, and joked she wished she hadn’t retired so she could have worked in the new building.
She was impressed by the size of the private rooms, the hospital’s layout, and other amenities.
“I wanted to see everything,” she said. “I knew once it opened, I would only be seeing the part that I would have to use.”