With the help of many generous community members, the Hospital was opened in 1962.
The response from the community for donations was incredible. People from Sullivan and surrounding towns - many who could hardly afford it - gave ... and then gave some more. Some contributed a month’s worth of their wages so the bond issued by the Town Council could be matched. When the hospital opened its doors in 1962, Sullivan became the first town of its size in Missouri to have a hospital.
The wonderful story of the growth and service of the small community hospital continued in 1987, when it became part of Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis - providing local patients access to their specialists. In 1994, we became part of the BJC HealthCare system. Since that time, BJC has literally rebuilt the hospital during the last decade. As a result, we have one of the best community hospitals in Missouri today.
Health Care in Sullivan.
Professional health care services were first offered in Sullivan through what was known as the “North-Side Hospital.” It was privately owned and operated by Dr. Samuel Harwood and his wife Sarah, who was a registered nurse. This facility was in operation from 1945 until mid 1957, when it closed due to Dr. Harwood’s failing health.
During the years following the closing of the North-Side Hospital, in-patient medical care was only available at Washington, MO or Rolla, MO, a trip between 30 and 40 miles. In emergent cases, the distance created a very serious situation. Recognizing this critical need, community leaders and medical professionals determined to gain community support for a local hospital. Weekly meetings were held in the City Hall to study and determine what needed to be done to establish, fund and build a hospital.
Community Hospital for Sullivan
In April 1959, the City placed the issue of a 20-year, $150,000 bond on the ballot as the first step in gaining Federal Hill-Burton Act funding. To complete the match for funding, local officials and businessmen canvassed homes and businesses in Sullivan, Bourbon, St. Clair and the surrounding rural areas to raise the next $150,000. When the financial support was secured, a ground-breaking took place on September 5, 1960 at 2:00 PM on property donated by the City of Sullivan located near the old airport. Shortly following the ground-breaking, Plez Lewis & Son from St. Clair, was selected as contractor for the project, and construction began.
Hospital Groundbreaking, September 5th, 1960
Mayor George Hayes, Lloyd Angove, W.L. “Bud” Mattox,
Russell Cuneio, Charles D. Strauser, Rev. L. H. Owens, Rev. Myers Williamson
When the construction was complete, an Open House/Ribbon Cutting for the state-of-the-art 35-bed facility took place on March 18, 1962. People from all over the local area came to take part in the celebration. Newspaper reports estimated “over 3,000 people in attendance to inspect and admire the gem on the outskirts of Sullivan.” Mayor George Hayes officiated the ribbon cutting with former Mayor Oliver Downes, Lloyd “Bud” Angove, Faye “Pete” Peterson, John W. Waller, Norman Powell and members of the hospital committee.
Hospital Ribbon Cutting, March, 18th 1962
Hospital Open House, March, 18th 1962
The hospital opened for business at 7:45 AM on Monday, March 26, 1962. The first patient, Eloise Richards was greeted by Mr. William Cowan, Administrator, Miss Joan Marie Jolley, RN, Director of Nursing and 35 employees, which made up the staff of the hospital. There were 17 physicians that made up the medical staff with Dr. John J. De la Torre being Chief of Staff. The first baby was born March 27, 1962 at 9:50 PM. It was Bobbie Christine Bell who was delivered by Dr. Robert Crawford.
Hospital - 1962
Throughout the next few decades there were a number of expansions and upgrades to the facility. A ribbon cutting celebration was held on September 4, 1968 for an addition that increased the bed count to 57 beds. In 1971 a second operating room, new emergency room and recovery room were added. In 1978, an additional patient wing was requested. Upon receiving approval, an official ground breaking was held on October 6, 1978 with a large group of local political dignitaries, hospital representatives and community members in attendance. The addition was complete on May 24, 1979, increasing the bed count to 81. There were a number of upgrades and improvements made to the rest of the facility during the next two years that culminated in an Open House and Dedication celebration that was held on May 31, 1981.
1978 Additional Patient Wing - Groundbreaking - October 6, 1978
Change of Ownership for the Hospital
With changes in reimbursements and insurance income, the City of Sullivan felt concerned for a secure financial future of the hospital under their ownership. At that time, interests from outside corporations were entertained, and after much deliberation, the Sullivan Community Hospital was sold to HEI, a “for profit” corporation from Texas on June 1, 1984. Over the next three years, a number of considerable investments in equipment and changes in staffing were made by HEI. On September 16, 1987, the hospital was sold to Missouri Baptist Medical Center to become a “non-for-profit” facility named: Missouri Baptist Hospital of Sullivan. Many benefits were available under the ownership of the St. Louis hospital including having their Specialty Physicians offering their services locally. With further changes in insurance contractual agreements, Missouri Baptist hospitals became part of BJC Health Care in June 1994. The BJC Health Care system is made up of 13 hospitals and a number of other health clinics and providers throughout Missouri and Illinois.
Hospital Building Replaced
Over the next decade, Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital benefitted with many facility additions and improvements. Older equipment was also replaced with state-of-the-art technology made possible with the support of BJC Health Care. The original facility had become very inefficient for patient care and required much ongoing repair and up-keep. In 2002, approval was granted for a multi-phase facility replacement. The process began with an official ground breaking ceremony on September 26, 2002. After nearly 10 years of construction and demolition, the entire hospital was replaced and celebrated with an Open House & Ribbon Cutting on December 15, 2010. Throughout that time, the Emergency Department, Admitting and Radiology were replaced first and opened in 2003. That same year, a Geriatric Psych Unit was built and opened. The next phase included the Laboratory, Respiratory Therapy, Auxiliary Gift Shop, Surgery, Medical Surgery and Critical Care that opened in 2007. From build-out space in that phase, the new OB Department was completed and opened in 2008. The next year, the lower level build-out space to house the Cafeteria, Kitchen, Housekeeping, Medical Records, Occupational Health, Pharmacy and the Store room was constructed and opened. Also in 2009, the Maintenance Shop was built and opened.
Since the facility replacement, a Wound Care Center opened in the lower level by the Doctor’s Building in early 2011 with a Healing Garden outside of the Cancer Treatment Center opening later in 2011. The Physician office space in the Medical Office Building was becoming inadequate for the staff, so a groundbreaking took place April 9, 2012 for a 10,000-square-foot expansion. In less than six months, the project was complete and an open house and ribbon cutting took place October 4, 2012.
December 15, 2010 Addition and new Main Entrance
Celebrating 50 Years of Growth
On March 18, 2012, Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital celebrated its 50th year of service to the community. It was exactly 50 years to the day that the original Open House/Ribbon-Cutting took place. The theme of the celebration was “Thanks for growing with us for 50 years!” Over the years, considerable growth and progress has been accomplished. The small beginning of the Community Hospital has resulted in a state-of-the-art facility equipped with the latest technology and equipment available only at the larger St. Louis Hospitals. It is a direct result of the dedication and vision of community leaders, and support of the entire community that seeks health care close to home. We look forward to another 50 years with that continued support.