PINCKNEYVILLE — When moving day arrived for nurses and patients at Pinckneyville Community Hospital, it was far from a sad goodbye.
Patrick Braun, who has been a registered nurse at his hometown's hospital for eight years, has been counting down the days.
"I'm really excited, it's almost like Christmas around here," Braun said. "We've all been waiting for this day for quite some time and hoping it would actually happen."
Monday marked the official opening of the new Pinckneyville Community Hospital off of State Route 154, which replaces the outdated building on Walnut Street in the center of Pinckneyville.
Tom Hudgins, who retired as the hospital's CEO in July and has overseen the move, said the facility on Walnut Street was slowly falling apart.
"All the major infrastructure, from the electrical to the hearing and cooling and plumbing was old and not up to code," he said. "At some point, there was going to be a major failure."
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Each day, Braun and other employees had struggled with cramped work space, outdated computer systems and a lack of privacy for patients.
"All they've had is a curtain to separate patients, and that's just not enough. Plus the walls are dark and everything about it is from the 1970s," he said. "Plus, it will be nice to have air conditioning again."
The change in address comes with updated equipment, 17 private bedrooms for patients, a larger emergency department and a bit more overall flash.
"It's just so beautiful in there and it's clean and there's everything we need for our patients," Braun said. "It's going to be so much better to come to work."