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Sanford Heart Hospital ‘a game changer’

It was a week of reflection, celebration and vision.

Veteran Sanford Heart leaders shared their inspiring legacy and empowering mission for the future. Executives, employees, patients and thousands of community members toured the 205,000 square foot facility. Curators unveiled more than 200 works of art to thousands of awestruck spectators.

Skilled professionals expressed their humble emotions and gave thanks to each other for brightening the future of heart care. “It’s a game changer in this market and in the region that we all live in,” said Tom Van Wyhe, an ambassador for the Sioux Falls Chamber. “And it's here now under one roof. With new jobs, new skills, new technology, new investment and most importantly a new healing environment.”

A monumental tribute to ‘Family First’

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, more than 200 Sanford Health executives and Sanford Heart skilled professionals gathered to listen to Sanford Health leaders’ impassioned discussion about the program’s tumultuous past and its phoenix-like rebirth.

“This [hospital] is a monument to you, a monument to our battle, a monument to our priorities,” Sanford Health CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft said during the speeches. “What you have helped build is historic. It’s real, and it’s your legacy too.”

Following the discussion, Sanford Heart Hospital employees toured the facility, but not before witnessing the unveiling of the bronze sculpture “Heart of Humanity” located in the hospital’s Welcome Center.

Hospital leaders collaborated with Sanford Art Director, Ivy Oland, to curate the facility’s artwork. The result: more than 500 commissioned pieces, all of which are reflections of heart, mind, body, community and work.

Sanford Heart Hospital tours spanned four floors. Interactive projections of various Sanford Heart leaders explained the intricacies of areas including the hybrid operating room, cath labs, and live tour guides explained amenities in the Center for Health and Well-being. Volunteers answered questions and way-finding signage along the route also helped demystify the many intricacies of the facility.

Giving thanks to the past and the present

Hundreds of executives and Sanford Health employees from across 133,000-mile footprint as well as more than 2,000 community members toured Sanford Heart Hospital during separate events throughout the week. All in all, an estimated 6,000 attendees toured the facility during opening events.

A special Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting on Wednesday, Feb. 22, drew more than 200 attendees and included blessings from Rosebud Sioux spiritual leader and healer Gene Thin Elk and Sanford Health Chaplain, Rev. Cindy Hoy.

During the ribbon cutting ceremony, several Sanford Heart skilled professionals took the stage to express their gratitude for the new facility and for their colleagues . Click here to view a special Native American dance dedicated to the opening of the new facility.

“I cannot see myself being as successful anywhere else in the world,” Cardiologist Dr. Tom Stys said. “Our new heart hospital is going to make a difference in the community. We will be able to serve our patients better.”

Open to the public

On Saturday, Feb. 25, the final day of events, dozens of community members lined up outside in the cold for more than an hour before hospital tours began.

“It is unbelievable what this hospital entails – the operating rooms, the equipment, the decorating. I don’t know where else you’d find something like this,” Sioux Falls resident Lois Welter said.

From the Lower Level stress labs to the hybrid operating rooms and the Acuity Adaptable patient rooms, of the thousands of people who were first to witness the Sanford Heart Hospital, many expressed their excitement over having such a monument of care in their community.

“It is this incredible organization, it is one that cares about health, whether you’re young or you’re old, rich, or you’re poor,” Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Heuther said during the ribbon cutting ceremony. “They care about your health at Sanford. They care about community. My gosh, this place has had an impact on our community. And it resonates over and over.”

To learn more about Sanford Heart Hospital’s opening events, including details about the hospital’s technology, equipment and artwork, click here.

Posted Date: February 2012