New Hospital Could Transform Industrial Town's Image

New Hospital Could Transform Industrial Town's Image

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MURRAY, Utah (AP) -- This town, once best known as the state's biggest industrial and ore smelting center, will soon be home to a new hospital anchoring Intermountain Health Care's operations.

With a high-tech trauma center, cancer treatment center and heart-and-lung hospital, the Intermountain Medical Center will replace LDS Hospital as IHC's flagship when it opens its doors in 2007.

City leaders are hoping to cash in on that transformation as the newest IHC hospital brings jobs, business and tax dollars to the one-time industrial area.

Mayor Dan Snarr said the new hospital marks the onset of a new era for Murray, with the focus on health care replacing the stigma of the city's contaminated soil.

"Talk about a beautiful icon in the sky -- it's the hospital," he said.

The medical campus is already rising along State Street and will soon house five separate hospitals, some more than 15 stories high.

"It will really be a new landmark. For years the chimney stacks were visible from anywhere in the valley and in a few years, you'll be able to look out and see the hospital," IHC spokesman Jess Gomez said. "It really has come full circle."

The hospital alone is expected to create 4,000 to 6,000 new jobs for the city on its 100-acre campus. That's not including the work force generated by restaurants, hotels and physicians' clinics expected to pop up nearby.

Those new industries could pump between $700,000 and $1 million into Murray's sales tax revenues, according to city predictions.

As IHC's most advanced hospital, the Intermountain Medical Center will also attract patients, students and doctors from around the region. Hotel occupancy rates -- as well as national name recognition -- are expected to surge, with an estimated 25,000 more people a day streaming through the city.

"It will be a destination hospital. Patients throughout the Western United States will come here for their care," Gomez said.

The 100-acre campus also means the hospital has room for amenities like an outdoor garden pavilion in the women's center and the chance to separate each of the five hospitals into individual buildings. That division will allow for more specialization and easier navigation for patients, Gomez said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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