What if you threw a party and 15,000 people showed up?! That’s exactly what happened Saturday, July 28, when Palomar Health welcomed the community to celebrate the opening of the magnificent, new Palomar Medical Center.
It was a sight to behold as thousands of guests lined up to take a tour of the facility while thousands more enjoyed the grand opening bash on the grounds surrounding the hospital!
Perched atop the main stage with my friend and former colleague, Hal Clement, I watched as throngs of people descended on the property…eager to see the stunning new facility. As the North County Times put it, folks were eager to see for themselves what nearly a decade of work and almost $1 billion can build.
But the celebration spilled out of the building onto the outdoor venue with Zumba dancers on the driveway, free health screenings and health-care exhibitors in the parking areas, free food everywhere and fun stuff for the little ones in the Rockin’ Kids’ Zone. LED screens placed throughout the venue helped everyone keep up with the happenings on the main stage.
With the help of roving reporter, Liz Purcell on the “field,” Hal and I interviewed architects and doctors, contractors and nurses, community leaders and elected officials, donors, CAO’s, CFO’s – and of course, Michael Covert, president and CEO for Palomar Health about their contributions to and feelings about the “hospital of the future.” And we just scratched the surface. Literally thousands can claim a piece of the all-new Palomar Medical Center. It took each one to make the dream come true.
A dignified dedication ceremony added the perfect touch to the day. It began, in style, with a fly-by by a Mercy Air helicopter and perfect landing atop the hospital’s new helipad.
With a local Girl and Boy Scout color guard at attention, three flags were raised representing the United States, California and Palomar Health. Local and state officials shared a few thoughts with the crowd followed by the ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Palomar Health Board President Ted Kleiter…smiling ear to ear!
As the sun settled in the west, the party rocked on with free food from some 15 fabulous local restaurants at “The Taste of North County.” (My first taste of duck tacos compliments of Hacienda de Vega. Awesome!) Thousands of partiers waving pink and blue glow sticks took us from dusk to dark and the final tour of the new Palomar Medical Center.
The views and amenities of the new medical center are breathtaking, as evidenced by the “oohs” and “ahhhs” coming from each tour group. But as Palomar’s Medical Chief of Staff, Dr. Richard Engel pointed out, the facility is incomplete until it’s staffed. “It’s the people,” he said, “who will fill it with meaning.”
The new state-of-the-art building opened for business on Sunday, August 19 and that is truly something for the community to celebrate!
Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.