One of Kentucky's foremost rehabilitation hospitals is about to get even bigger and better.
Construction is under way on a 3 story, 158,000 square foot addition at Cardinal Hill.
Tuesday's groundbreaking there was 6 years in the planning. Kerry Gillihan, Cardinal Hill's President and CEO, tells 27 NEWSFIRST, "The need for this 38.3 million dollar expansion project is very apparent in that every day we run essentially full on all the beds that we have, and it's all patient oriented so while it will be quite attractive, it's designed to function very well as a patient care facility."
Cardinal Hill has had some well known patients through the years including noted horsewoman Mary Lou Whitney. A series of generous donations from Whitney and her husband, John, helped make today possible. But Gillihan says, "We love them to pieces not just because they help fund us with their resources but because of the influence they exert."
Cardinal Hill currently has only 2 private rooms, but that's a deficiency the new facility will make up for many times over. Gillihan says, "The rooms in the addition are not all private, but we'll have more private ones there than we have total beds now."
Among the former patients taking part in Tuesday's ground breaking ceremonies was Will Coffman, who broke his back in a car accident 12 years ago and was paralysed from the waist down. He says, "I'm happy to be an ambassador for Cardinal Hill because I have a unique story to tell after the care I received from all the talented people there.
Patients come first there, and that's the reason it's so near and dear to my heart."
Coffman has also come to appreciate how hard the therapists at Cardinal Hill pushed him. "They really expect the most out of you, and you do develop a love-hate relationship with some of your therapists, but it turns into pure love at the end."
If all goes well, the new facility should be completed early in 2011.