Authority for the “Miners’ Hospital”
The initial authority for construction of the “Miners’ Hospital” was included within the Constitution for Wyoming when the territory was admitted to the Union on July 10, 1890.At that time, Wyoming was given various land grants by the federal government totaling 4 million acres of which a 30,000 acre tract, designated as the “Miners’ Land Grant”, was specifically set aside for the construction and operation of the “Miners’ Hospital.” In the 1892 general election, the people of Wyoming designated Rock Springs as the location of the new hospital. Following the vote, the first Wyoming legislature appropriated a levy for the hospital and the Union Pacific Railway Company donated15 acres of land to the state for the construction of the hospital.
Rock Springs is Chosen
Rock Springs was a particularly significant choice since it was located directly on the new transcontinental railroad, which linked the East and West coasts of the United States. Moreover, Rock Springs was a rich source of the clean, hot burning coal necessary to fuel the powerful steam engines. Thus, mining built the foundation of what became Rock Springs and served as an important mining center in the United States well into the 20th century.
The Hospital Completed
On December 2, 1893, dedication ceremonies were held with the Masons of Rock Springs Lodge No. 12laying the cornerstone. Within a year, the hospital was completed and officially opened as the Wyoming General Hospital. In 1901, a one-story nurses’ dormitory was built adjacent to the hospital and was remodeled in 1914 adding two additional stories. In 1932, a two-story masonry wing was added to the east, and, in 1940, a similar structure was added on the west.
Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County
On January 1, 1948, by act of the 29th Wyoming legislature, ownership of the Wyoming General Hospital was transferred to Sweetwater County and the hospital officially became Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County. The hospital moved to its current location on College Drive in 1973 when the county approved a$5.5 million bond issue for a new facility.
A New, Modern Facility
On May 7, 1978 the old hospital closed its doors and the new $13 million Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County admitted its first patient. In 1984, the Board of Trustees, the County Commissioners,and hospital officials broke ground for a $6.5 million expansion and renovation to provide ambulatory diagnostic facilities, which were completed and dedicated on October 11, 1985. Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County was officially rededicated on October 24, 1986.
Stepping into a New Era in Healthcare
We have entered a new era in healthcare as our first large-scale renovation, completed in 2010, added approximately 54,000 square feet of new construction along with 64,000 square feet of existing spacebeing renovated. Our second project broke ground in April 2012 as a new Medical Office Building is being constructed. The building will total four floors and 80,000 square feet. It will include the services of Sweetwater Medical Group, the hospital’s employed medical practice, that provides; family practice,pediatrics, internal medicine, psychiatry, general surgery, otolaryngology (ear, nose, & throat), adult primary care, nephrology, critical care, hematology/oncology, and pulmonology. The building will alsofeature expanded services such as rehabilitation services (physical, occupational, and speech therapy),dialysis, and cardiopulmonary rehab. The anchor of the medical office building will be a full-service Cancer Treatment Center. This state-of-the-art center, designed by the Huntsman Cancer Institute, will be the first of its kind in the Southwestern Wyoming region. The future of healthcare in Sweetwater County is now.