LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – For Gundersen Health System, Sunday was "Legacy Day."
It's the day when staff and about 100 patients made the move into the new hospital, known as the Legacy Building.
Successfully moving patients into a new hospital takes a full year of planning, said Hospital Administrator Jan DeHaan.
Staff moved patients in two phases. About 50 were transported in each phase.
DeHaan operated the command center.
She said the transition went smoothly and it's gratifying that after all the hard work that went into the Legacy Building, it's officially up and running.
"It feels very good. It went really, really smoothly, and patients and family are very excited, and the staff (is) very excited to be in their new home. And so we're getting settled in," DeHaan said.
Staff started relocating emergency room patients around 4 a.m. They finished the entire move by 2 p.m.
Before she got to new room, patient Merrilee Connell examined her old one.
"This room? Oh, it can use some help. It needs some loving tender care," she said.
Cramped is one word Connell used to describe her hospital room.
"Raising the bed will knock the (IV) pole all cock-eyed because it's so close," Connell said.
The view is not much to look at, either.
But Sunday she got an upgrade.
"I've heard (the Legacy Building) is absolutely gorgeous and it's full of light," Connell said.
By 10 a.m., Alysta King, 10, already settled into her new room in the Legacy Building.
"I like the view because you can see everything," King said. "And in my other room you were just staring at a parking lot."
King said that makes her stay easier. Sometimes she has to stay at the hospital for months at a time to receive treatment. It inspired her future career.
"(I want to be) an IV therapist, so I can poke people," King said.
Around noon, Connell finally made her move.
"This is a great ride. We're gonna do a mattress bed race," Connell said in transit.
But to her, it was worth the wait.
"I can't believe it. Oh my goodness. It's absolutely gorgeous," Connell sighed.
The view was also an upgrade.
"When you're downstairs you don't even know what the weather is, much less it's bright and sunny out there," she said. "It's just gorgeous. People are going to get better so much faster."
In Connell's words, rooms with "loving tender care" will help people heal.
Connell said she'll be discharged from the hospital in the next day or so, adding she considers herself lucky to be the first to use her hospital room.
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