ELKINS - Health care, like most things, changes and evolves over time. Elkins and the surrounding area are fortunate to have a facility like Davis Medical Center, which has changed with the times and transformed to meet the needs of the public.
On Friday, Davis Medical Center dedicated a newly constructed 82,300-square foot addition to accommodate increased use of outpatient services, including primary and specialty care physicians, radiological testing, laboratory and outpatient surgery options.
"Even though the industry is challenged by change, Davis Medical Center forges new ground by investing in the technologies and patient-centered processes representative of the future of health care. We're glad to share this exciting new time with our fellow West Virginians," said Mark Doak, president and CEO of Davis Health System.
Photos courtesy of Davis Medical Center
The original entrance of Davis Memorial Hospital, top, was constructed in 1903. The children’s ward, above, long since has been a part of the hospital.
Photos courtesy of Davis Medical Center.
There were 19 members of the 1956 graduating nurses class.
In the early days, the men’s ward at Davis Memorial Hospital, top photo, housed those with everything from minor to more major afflictions. The operating room, above, has changed significantly over the years.
Tracy Fath, director of marketing and development for Davis Medical Center, said the renovation will provide greater convenience.
"Currently, physicians and services are spread out on the Davis Medical Center campus," Fath said. "This addition is meant to bring outpatient services into one centralized location for patient convenience."
According to officials, Davis Memorial Hospital was built and dedicated by Henry Gassaway Davis in 1903, in memory of his son who was lost at sea. In the more than 100 years since then, the doors of the hospital have been open to help the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Renovations were made on the structure in 1910, 1942, 1964, 1972, 1984, 1994 and 2014.
Old newspaper clippings archived at Davis Medical Center reveal the original facility was constructed of stone and brick, roofed with red slate. It was octagon-shaped and had 40 beds.
In 1903, the hospital received income of $1,485.13 with expenses of $1,442.51, for an end balance of just $42.62. The first two years, the hospital took care of patients with various medical cases including colic, cellulitis, endometritis and pneumonia.
In 1910, the size of the hospital doubled with the addition of two stone and brick wings, and in 1942, another wing was added, composed of two floors.
The next addition, completed in 1964, had three floors. On the first floor was an emergency entrance, emergency rooms, physical therapy, a cafeteria, a kitchen and boiler room. The second floor housed the laboratory, central supply, surgical department, doctors' and nurses' lounges and the x-ray department. The third floor had patients' rooms, the obstetrical department and additional doctors' and nurses' lounges.
In the early 1960s a fund was formed to "look to the future of community health and progress by planning improvements for Davis Memorial Hospital in memory of a great and good doctor, William G. "Bill" Harper."
An article in "Hillbilly" said "hospitals, like homes or factories and machinery, are subject to the ravages of time and must be kept in constant repair to meet the daily work load placed upon them. If repairs become too costly or the work load is too heavy, then it is time to expand and replace worn out facilities."
The hospital's Board of Trustees, cooperating with physicians and staff, decided to expand by adding a $700,000 wing to the present facility.
"We shall be adding 25 beds, new and modern operating rooms, dental surgery, clinical and diagnostic laboratories and relocating x-ray treatment facilities," the Hillbilly article said. The cost was shared by local contributions coupled with $350,000 from the federal government.
The 1972 addition to Davis Memorial Hospital provided a total of 16 new beds, plus administrative, storage and mechanical equipment space. According to the July 11, 1972, edition of The Inter-Mountain, the total area of the two-story building, connected to the existing hospital by outdoor corridors, was 14,700 square feet. A total of $222,000 was granted by the Appalachian Regional Commission for the first phase of construction.
The total construction cost for the addition was $740,000, and 50 percent of the cost came from a Hill-Burton Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Welfare. The remaining $148,000 came from local sources.
The current renovation and addition, priced at $13 million, is the first major expansion since 1994. Construction started Nov. 10, 2011.
Steve Johnson, the building coordinator and director of support services, said he is pleased with the addition.
"About 70 percent of the money used in the construction of this addition was spent locally," Johnson said.
The new structure is projected to add 40,000 to 50,000 more visits per year to DMC, said Carl Nichols, vice president of physician practices for Davis Health System.