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Hospital something to see

Something to see: Leongatha Chamber of Commerce president Darryl McGannon, hospital CEO Gary Templeton, hospital maintenance manager Mark Withers and Leongatha Chamber of Commerce secretary/treasurer Kathy Smith.

THE Leongatha Chamber of Commerce and The Star were invited on a special guided tour through Leongatha Memorial Hospital recently.

The building, as it currently stands, is largely incomplete – a tangle of wires, frames and open spaces. But soon enough the flesh will go on and the essential innards – staff, machines and patients – will bring her to life.

For those who have dreamt big dreams about the hospital, the opening is something they can hardly wait for. Hospital CEO Gary Templeton and maintenance manager Mark Withers guided our tour.

The chamber’s president Darryl McGannon attended, while secretary/treasurer Kathy Smith was there too.

Both chamber leaders were excited by what they saw and can’t wait for the official September unveiling.

Kathy quipped: “I’m extremely impressed, but I’d love not to use it.”

For Gary and Mark, who know every inch of the building and can paint a vivid picture of what she will be, the hospital has been about 12 years in the making.

They rejected the analogy that they were like two little kids waiting to open that big gift under the Christmas tree.

“I don’t get excited,” Gary said, grinning.

“It’s still five months away and there’s a lot of work to be done. If we have a successful move and people are settled without any problems, then we get unwrap the present and be happy,” Mark opined.

“We haven’t delivered yet. We’ve got to deliver. That’s the important part.”

These are two men used to waiting for things to happen and neither wants to tempt fate by getting ahead of themselves.

But Gary knows the importance the hospital has for the region. It was the reason he led a push for a large double story building. The hospital will be about 7000sqm in size. Coupled with the adjoining Kooroman House Nursing Home, it will sprawl across 9000sqm, or more than two acres.

“You look at the building itself and you know that it’s a real hospital and it’s a serious hospital. If we get all the services right in the building itself, then we’ll have done a pretty good job,” he said.

“The implementation of actually making the hospital work is another two to three years away. There’s a lot of things in mind that we want to do.

“It’s a world away from where we’ve been. In fact, it’s half a century away from where we’ve been.”

Gary said the upgraded hospital was sure to attract staff, though he hastened to add there was no plan to employ extra people in the short term.

Such decisions came down to budgets, and more staff could only be considered when extra funding was providing.

“At the end of the day, though, I think if you come back in 10 years time we’ll be doing more than we do today,” he said.

“There’s multiple ways of achieving that. In the old building it wasn’t possible, in the new building it will be. We’re only limited by funding.”

Darryl said the hospital construction had kick started development in Leongatha, with other positive building projects flowing from it.

“There’s no doubt that what’s been built here has just been fantastic for this region. It’s certainly a lot more than I thought would be on offer,” he said.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=7126

Posted by on May 14 2013. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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