By MELISSA DIPENTO
Nearly 1,000 invited guests turned out to the Virtua Voorhees premier celebration Saturday evening, which included food and beverage, guest speakers and a tour of the hospital’s brand new 680,000 square-foot facility at Route 73 and Dutchtown Rd.
The hospital, which utilized 10 years of planning and 34 months of construction, is ready to open its 40-acre campus on May 22. The current Virtua hospital, about four miles up the road at 101 Carnie Blvd., will be put on the market in the near future.
Guest speakers at the event included Virtua CEO Richard P. Miller, Anthony Chigounis, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mary O’Dowd, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services’ Acting Commissioner, U.S. Congressman Robert Andrews and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt.
O’Dowd said Virtua Voorhees will be the first hospital to open its doors in seven years in the state.
Many of the guest speakers highlighted the impact Virtua has had and will continue to have in Voorhees and the region in terms of new jobs.
Mayor Michael Mignogna attended the event and said he was excited to officially welcome the new Virtua campus into town.
“We’re proud to have such a first-class organization like Virtua be part of our community. It’s been an economic boost for Voorhees. There were 2,800 construction jobs and they’re creating 1,000 additional jobs here in Voorhees Township. We welcome them and we’re very proud to have them,” Mignogna said.
Miller said the hospital and its production has thrived in a time of economic decline. He said he is looking forward to the creation of even more new jobs and businesses in Voorhees.
“It’s been a real positive economic engine at a time when there wasn’t any economics in this community. And I think what you’re going to find, too, is up and down the 73 corridor, there’s going to be a lot more growth and development of businesses that will be tangential to the hospital that the community needs when they come and visit,” Miller said.
Former Philadelphia Eagle Donovan McNabb and his wife Raquel were honored at the event for their support of the hospital.
The McNabbs had their four children at Virtua. Their twins needed the support of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after their birth. McNabb said this inspired his family to support the hospital in a monetary way. The family is committed to raising $2.5 million; the NICU is named the McNabb Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
McNabb said he was proud to be at an event alongside many others who have supported Virtua, as well.
“Anytime you can leave your mark and legacy, we’re touching lives. Anytime you’re surrounded by supporting cast like Virtua…they’re able to provide that level of support.”
Miller said he was pleased to see the community come out and support the new hospital.
“It’s a terrific night for the community because this is their celebration of what we’ve built here in Voorhees Township and I’m so excited, on a terrible weather night, that we had the turnout from the community to be a part of this. So we’re really excited to open this new hospital on May 22.”
The new campus will include impatient services such as maternity, gynecology, pediatrics, oncology, cardiology, surgery, neuroscience, wellness and emergency services.
The hospital boasts private rooms with large windows and family accommodations, including a sleeper sofa in every patient room to invited designated family members to be involved in the care of their loved ones.
The campus also includes rooftop gardens, large windows throughout the hospital, and photography by local artists of local landscapes. The new Virtua is also Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certified.
The new Virtua officially opens its doors on Sunday, May 22 at 7 a.m.
The community is invited to a free open house on Sunday, May 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guests may take a tour and view the private rooms. There will also be prizes and refreshments.
For more information, visit here.