New SMH facility opens

MANISTIQUE – The staff of Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital didn’t let bad weather stop them from cutting the ribbon on their new hospital building – they just moved the ceremony indoors.

“Not only is it a ribbon cutting but it’s also an open house day,” SMH CEO George Montgomery told the Daily Press.

Patients will not be moved to the new building until April 22, but the open house allowed visitors to tour the new facilities without interfering with patients, hospital operations, or a sterile environment.

The new building, located just west of Manistique on U.S. 2, replaces the previous hospital that was built in 1950. While the new facility has fewer inpatient rooms than the old building, all 12 of the in-patient rooms are private.

One of the major focuses of the new building is to be better adapted to providing outpatient services. Even simple things – like the size of the parking lot – were designed with that goal in mind.

“It’s much nicer for them,” said Montgomery, adding the increased parking was also appreciated by hospital staff.

The building features an emergency room, two operating rooms, CT and MRI imaging centers, a laboratory, a conference center, a kitchen and cafeteria, and administrative and staff offices.

In addition to the emergency and inpatient facilities, the new building is home to the SMH Rural Health Clinic. The clinic offers patients access to six primary care physicians, as well as traveling specialists. Specialists include cardiologists, otolaryngologists, obstetricians, oncologists, ophthalmologists and podiatrists. A separate dedication ceremony for the clinic will be held in June.

Ground was broken on the approximately $25 million dollar facility in August 2011. While the majority of the building was paid for through USDA funding, more than $1 million was raised by community members and local foundations through the hospital’s capital campaign.

“It’s been a long time coming. Probably better than 8 years with the idea of (building a new facility),” said Montgomery.

The outside of the building was completed last fall prior to the first snow, and crews finished the inside of the building throughout the winter months.

“We were working on the inside of the building in January and February. We didn’t have to worry about the snow except for in the parking lot,” said Montgomery.

The new building also features a stone finish inside made from locally-quarried stone, improved handicapped accessibility, increased patient privacy, and will be air conditioned – unlike the old building.

For the staff of SMH, the hospital is more than a building.

“It’s the people that will be in it that I happen to believe are some of the best – not only medical staff in terms of the doctors but the nurses, all the way down to the people that cook your meals,” SMH Chief of Staff Dr. Tom Miles told guests at the ribbon cutting.

For more information about the hospital or the building project visit or call (906) 341-3200.