May/June 2007

Franciscan Health System Celebrates Start of St. Anthony Construction


05-07_Groundbreaking Photo

Community leaders joined representatives of Franciscan Health System in an indoor ceremonial groundbreaking for St. Anthony Hospital, which included soil that was brought from and returned to the construction site.

More than 225 community leaders and residents attended an April 26 groundbreaking ceremony that marked the start of construction of St. Anthony Hospital, Gig Harbor, Wash., part of Franciscan Health System, Tacoma, Wash. The 80-bed hospital is scheduled to open in early 2009 and will offer a full range of medical care, including 24-hour emergency services. The groundbreaking ceremony was held indoors, near the construction site, so that construction crews could continue work uninterrupted during the festivities. Archbishop Alexander Brunett of the Archdiocese of Seattle led the opening prayer, reflection and blessing. The event also included remarks by Joe Wilczek, president and chief executive officer of Franciscan Health System; Chuck Hunter, mayor of Gig Harbor; Derek Kilmer, state senator; Pat Lantz, state representative; and other dignitaries. During the ceremony, it was announced that the George F. Russell Jr. Fund of the Russell Family Foundation pledged a founding gift of $1.5 million to help create a state-of-the-art outpatient cancer center at St. Anthony. In addition to the groundbreaking, Franciscan Health System organized a series of events, including a 5k run and walk and a live concert, which gave community members a chance to gather and celebrate the start of construction.