April 15, 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of Lafayette General Medical Center accepting its very first patient at its location in the Oil Center. And to mark the occasion, LGMC held a ceremony honoring the hospital’s past, as well as its future, by burying a time capsule underneath the new La Place de Vie courtyard and announcing several new renovations.
“Fifty years at this location is absolutely monumental,” says LGMC CEO Patrick Gandy, who addressed hospital patrons in the main lobby. “The 28 patients who came here 50 years ago would experience what was just the beginning of the evolution of health care here in Acadiana. While only the concrete and the steel foundation is the same, the ‘can do’ spirit of Lafayette General has continued.”
During the ceremony, Gandy unveiled even more plans for renovations to the hospital. LGMC will add 18 more beds to its existing 365 staffed beds, to include six additional beds in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, six in Labor and Delivery and six in the mother and baby suites.
According to Gandy, these added beds are in response to the tremendous growth the hospital has witnessed in the last few years.
“In 2012, we delivered 35 percent of the babies of Lafayette Parish,” says Gandy. “Fast forward to 2014, we delivered 45 percent of the babies of Lafayette Parish. That tremendous growth has caused our need to continue to expand our services in our baby capacity.”
Gandy also announced an expansion to the the hospital Chapel, thanks to the The Ladies’ Auxiliary, commonly known as “The Pink Ladies,” which donated a generous $300,000 to fund the expansion.
The ceremony also paid homage to the hospital’s intricate history with the community. Lafayette General Medical Center’s current location, at the corner of South College Road and Coolidge Street, first opened in 1965 as Lafayette General Hospital. Groundbreaking for the original seven-story structure took place in 1963, and relocated the hospital from its first location at the corner of St. John Street and Versailles Boulevard Downtown, which was first known as Lafayette Sanitarium and founded in 1911.
Through the years, the current hospital has undergone several changes. In the mid-1970s, three floors and a penthouse were added on top of the hospital, making it the tallest building in Lafayette at the time. In the early 1980s, the 10-story West Tower was added. In 2011, the hospital completed a $70 million total renovation, gutting much of the original interior and completely remodeling the building’s exterior. And its most recent renovations include the addition of a new surgery platform and ER expansion.
The time capsule that was buried during the ceremony is expected to be opened in another 50 years, on April 15, 2065, and contained several pieces of the hospital’s long history in Lafayette, including old photos, old medical tools, a brick from the original St. John Street hospital location, and other memorabilia symbolizing the hospital’s past.