Salem Community Hospital prepares to celebrate centennial

SALEM – Salem Community Hospital celebrates the 100th anniversary of its 1913 opening on Friday, but the planning actually began five years before that in 1907.

A group of 14 local physicians with a vision for meeting the growing healthcare needs of the area formed the Salem City Hospital Association and raised $65,000 through an organized fund drive.

They set up a building fund and constructed the hospital along East State Street where it still stands, now part of a much larger operation and structure. The hospital opened its doors after a dedication ceremony on Sept. 13, 1913 and those doors have remained open ever since. As time passed, additions were built to enhance the services, increasing the original footprint into a sprawling campus.

A community celebration to mark the anniversary is being held from 1 to 4 p.m. today in the north parking lot where visitors can sign the anniversary banner and enjoy some refreshments.

Invitations have been sent for a Founders’ Day breakfast at the Salem Community Center Friday morning, with hospital employees celebrating throughout the day with a special meal while decked out in their 100th anniversary T-shirts.

“Today, 100 years later, the physicians and staff of Salem Community Hospital continue to share our forefathers’ goal to care for the needs of our patients by providing state-of-the art equipment, technology and facilities,” an introduction to the 100th anniversary section said on the hospital website.

Visitors to can click on the 100th anniversary logo in the upper left corner to learn all about the hospital’s history, see old photos and see the schedule of events.

Also on the website is information about the new patient bed tower, a $42.5 million construction project which is expected to be completed by the end of this year and opened for patients sometime in January. The project includes three stories for patient care and a two-story garage underneath the bed tower and a concourse to connect to the existing building.

“We are grateful to the residents of Salem and surrounding communities for the support shown to Salem Community Hospital, which has allowed us to provide locally-available quality healthcare for the past 100 years,” SCH Public Relations Director Michele Hoffmeister said.

Besides the multiple generations of patients who have relied on SCH to take care of them and their loved ones, there have been multiple generations of some families working to provide that care.

“There have been a lot of interesting and talented people pass though these doors,” she said.

She recalled Dr. Stanton Heck, who according to Salem Ohio History was one of the original doctors on the hospital staff and invented an X-ray machine known as the “stereoscopic fluoroscope.”

“He was a pioneer in the field and he was here,” she said.

Since his time, the medical imaging department “has grown by leaps and bounds” she said, noting how now they have the ability to look inside the body to determine what might be wrong and the images look like text-book pictures.

The medical imaging department continues to uphold Heck’s tradition of forward-thinking with the latest equipment to diagnose disease and injury.

As a longtime member of the hospital staff, Hoffmeister said “it’s a privilege to be a member of the current staff and work to continue the traditions that were set down by the healthcare professionals who came before us.”

A timeline of the hospital’s expansion into what it is today includes:

– Sept. 13, 1913, dedication and opening of Salem City Hospital, able to accommodate 70 patients

– 1948, wing added to increase patient beds to 108, plus 24 bassinets

– 1956, warehouse, power plant, laundry and pharmacy added to edifice

– 1963, east wing added to increase bed capacity to 150 beds and provide a chapel, lobby, outpatient waiting room and treatment rooms

– 1969, Northern Columbiana County Community Hospital Association formed through merger of Central Clinic and Hospital Association and Salem City Hospital Association, with number of beds up to 210

– 1972 to 1978, 42 beds added along with new outpatient diagnostic and emergency treatment department, additional operating suite and expansion of laundry facilities

– 1992, New Beginnings Family Care Center opens

– 1994, emergency department expands to west, 10,000 square feet with special ambulance entrance, new triage and waiting areas, decontamination room, centrally-located nurses’ station, X-ray room and darkroom within the emergency department, addition of urgent care facility

– 2000, new medical imaging technology added, Columbiana Medical Center opens

– 2003, new three-story addition and walkway over State Street built, Salem Medical Center opens

– 2006, new central plant opens, with walkway over Pershing Street

– 2009, new surgery center opens

– 2012, construction begins on new patient bed tower with three floors for patient care and two-story parking garage

– 2013, SCH celebrates 100th anniversary

– 2014, new patient bed tower opening and time capsule being buried.