New Texoma Medical Center: From the Ground Up

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Part One of a Two-Part Series...

DENISON, TX -- A local landmark that was built back in 1965 is in dire need of a renovation, but the Texoma Medical Center is going above and beyond by building a new facility.

"It’s a beast, and it's an animal and you have to feed it no matter what it takes," said Chris Wall, the project manager from Brasfield & Gorie.

That beast is the new TMC which will take some 1,800 tons of concrete, 4,000 tons of steel, 276 tons of sheet metal and $96 million to build the hospital.

"This will be the largest, fastest construction of a hospital that I have been a part of from the ground up,” said Wall.

Brasfield & Gorie is one of the top health care general contractors in the nation, and they're the ones with this task at hand.

"It’s exciting on some days and on some days it is just flat out overwhelming, and at the end it's great. This is what the citizens of Grayson County and our service area really need," said Randy Truxal, the assistant project manager from TMC.

To stay on top of schedule, the 25 sub contractors and over 500 construction workers work well over 40 hours a week to accomplish their goal---completing at least a thousand square feet a day.

"This is their safe haven to get better, so there are a lot more stringent policies and procedures that need to be followed," said Wall.

We took a tour of the facility, and saw how each floor is specifically crafted for certain departments like I.C.U. and the E.R.

Everything is going as planned, but there were some problems the contractors faced. The North Texas soil is bad for construction, so workers had to put steel beams in the ground to elevate the cement foundation. Time was also another obstacle. A project this big would take 24 months, but the time frame to build 8 stories from the ground up is only 18 months. Contractors are actually 45 days ahead of schedule.

"Comparing this one to a $20 million dollar job, I could do a $20 million job on a part time basis after this. It would be easy,” said Wall.

"It is mind boggling the amount of coordination and material that is needed to build a hospital this size. The most amazing part is having a 21st century hospital that will rival anything in the Metroplex to where your health care for the 21st century and beyond is right here in Grayson County, “said Truxal.

The new Texoma Medical Center is scheduled to be completed by December.

Part Two of a Two-Part Series

DENISON, TX -- It's a $96 million facility you may have seen while driving down U.S. 75 in Denison. Rashi Vats found out what the new, much-needed TMC will bring to Texoma.

The local economy is said to be average, and unemployment rates are good. But all those areas are expected to get much better after the new TMC comes to life.

At night, it looks like any other building in the making. During the day, it’s a crowded construction site, although it's anything but an ordinary building or ordinary site.

"There is no room for error," says assistant project manager Randy Truxal.

Truxal is talking about the intricate planning and details of the new TMC. A project this big entails building a 21st century, state-of-the-art hospital.

From the outside looking in, it's the future Texoma Medical Center, the 370,000 square-foot facility that will save lives with the most recent technology and more efficient safety systems.

Places like labor and delivery are in a dire need of an upgrade. It’s just one part of the current TMC that is over 40 years old which will have new equipment, more room, and even flat screen TVs.

"Even the cafeteria is going to have some fairly sophisticated technology that will improve the quality of the food," says TMC president/CEO Dr. Mackey Watkins.

It's the small details in the new facility that Dr. Watkins believes will make all the difference.

"It's on the highway, it's very easy to get to from all direction and I think that foremost that all of the services that we currently have, there is something in that new facility that will enhance the service that we presently provide."

But from the inside looking out, the facility will be an advancement for the area.

"When you build a new hospital facility, it's sort of like a magnet, and a lot of other businesses will float to that area,” Dr. Watkins says.

Dr. Watkins has been TMC's CEO since 2002 and oversees the planning and execution of this project, which actually started in 2006.

"With everything that has happened in this particular 3-year period, including the economic downturn, it is definitely a bright side for those who are interested and vested in this project," he says.

Watkins says all this advanced technology won't be cutting down jobs.

"Medical technology with automation can decrease employee requirement somewhat, but not to the degree that it will reduce real people needs in the industry."

"We bring in more staff to the hospital, then we hope to bring more physicians to the hospital to meet our patients’ needs, so we are helping grow the economy in the Denison/Sherman Grayson County area."

"I see it as a total positive. I can't see it a negative. If there is a negative it's because I’m losing a little bit of hair working with it," Watkins says.

And with that, a lot of work, coordination, and money will create this site, which is anything but ordinary. It’s a source of growth for the area and hope for patients in need.

The current TMC facility north of downtown Denison is up for sale, so before it's out with the old and in with the new, TMC is hoping to sell that facility before they gradually start moving in equipment as the project wraps up.

The new TMC is scheduled to be completely finished by December.

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