Topped Out: Heart Center Named for Reids
FirstHealth of the Carolinas will name its new Heart and Vascular Institute for a Pinehurst couple who made the largest donation in the hospital foundation's history.
Charles Frock, CEO of FirstHealth, announced Friday during a "topping-out" ceremony for the $82 million facility that it would be named the Reid Heart Center for Walter and Betty Reid. The amount of the contribution was not disclosed, but Frock said it was "significant."
"Betty and Walter Reid have been involved in hospitals in New Jersey for many years," Frock said during the ceremony at the construction site. "We really appreciate their support."
Just before the ceremony, the Reids signed one of the last steel beams, which a crane later hoisted to the top of the four-story structure.
Scott Duckworth, vice president and division manager of Brasfield and Gorrie, the general contractor on the project, told a small gathering that the topping-out ceremony is an old tradition in the construction industry, dating back to Scandinavian times when people would place a limb of a tree on the roof for good luck. He pointed to a Christmas tree perched atop the facility.
Two other beams signed by hospital employees, board members and other supporters were hoisted into place, "signifying that the building is for them," Duckworth said.
"This building will serve the community," he said.
Construction began in April and is scheduled for completion by the end of next year, according to Jay Snyder, director of planning, design and construction for FirstHealth. The new facility is on Page Road, near the outpatient entrance of FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.
Walter Reid said in an interview after the ceremony that he and his wife have always been impressed with Moore Regional. They bought a home at the Country Club of North Carolina in the mid-1960s and split time between here and New Jersey.
Shortly after they came here, Reid said, the hospital foundation approached him about joining the Scroll Society to make an annual contribution.
"In my opinion and in all of my relations with hospitals, this is one of the finest ways of raising money and having the community support the hospital," he said. "They get you involved in the hospital."
Reid said he tried unsuccessfully to bring that concept to Monmouth Medical Center in New Jersey, where he served on the board for 35 years, following in the footsteps of his father.
Reid's father founded Charms Candy Co., which he later took over and ran. Under his watch, the company created the "Blow Pop," combining bubble gum and hard candy. It became the top-selling lollipop, Reid said. He sold the company to Tootsie Roll in 1988.
"That (Blow Pop) is how I got Tootsie Roll to buy it," he said.
After moving to CCNC permanently in 2000, Reid and his wife took an even stronger interest in Moore Regional Hospital. One big reason for that, he said, was Dr. John Krahnert, a cardio and thoracic surgeon, who started the hospital's open heart surgery program in 1990.
"We have one of the most successful heart programs in North Carolina," Reid said. "When they announced development of the heart hospital, we just felt it was very important to support the construction of the facility. The philanthropic support from this community is outstanding. That has helped provide the community with an outstanding hospital."
Krahnert, who also happens to be from New Jersey, agreed with Reid. Kranhert is senior medical director of FirstHealth.
"We could not have accomplished what we have without the support of this community," he said. "We are very blessed to be here. We get to practice big-city medicine in a small town. We are very grateful."
The FirstHealth Foundation raised nearly $35 million through the Stepping Stones campaign to help fund the Cardiac and Vascular Institute, Frock said.
The Cardiac and Vascular Institute will allow FirstHealth to integrate cardiovascular services -- both invasive and noninvasive -- under one umbrella, which is designed to improve outpatient and inpatient cardiothoracic care.
The institute will include 186,000 square feet of newly constructed space and 65,700 square feet of renovations.
One of the four floors will be dedicated solely to providing physician office space. The complex will contain 57 patient-care beds -- 27 intensive care and 30 acute care -- six operating rooms, five catheterization labs, two electrophysiology labs and even an upscale bistro, according to Snyder.
The new facility will better coordinate the hospital's noninvasive cardiac and vascular diagnostic services, cardiac catheterization, intervention, surgery and a number of additional patient-focused services.
"It is designed for patient flow," Krahnert said. "It will be seamless. It will be a much smoother process."
Contact David Sinclair at (910) 693-2462 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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