With just weeks until the opening of the Garner WakeMed Healthplex, Denise Hughes put the final touches on her contribution. With all the steel, concrete and other heavy construction materials going up, hers constituted a more subtle addition.
The Raleigh artist painted a mural on the Healthplex’ imaging room. WakeMed contracted with Hughes to paint several murals in various hospitals, each with a somewhat localized theme. In this case, she painted a bright, cheery rendition of downtown Garner.
The imaging services offered in the room include X-ray, ultrasound and CT scans, as well as MRI one day per week, according to WakeMed spokeswoman Kristin Kelly.
“We have murals at the majority of our facilities. We’ve commissioned Denise for all of them,” Kelly said.
Kelly said the murals lighten a potentially traumatic experience for kids and adults alike.
The Garner Healthplex will open to patients on Aug. 19. On Aug. 17, the hospital will host a grand opening celebration and free pancake breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. WakeMed will offer tours of the facility, live music, and activities for children including crafts, games, tours of emergency vehicles and a “teddy bear clinic.”
The new facility, an $18 million investment by WakeMed, brings most of the services of WakeMed’s primary campus within easy access of Garner. Located on U.S. 70 about a mile west of White Oak Crossing, the health care center will employ 150 full-time equivalent employees. WakeMed expects to treat 12,000-15,000 patients in the first year and roughly double that in a decade.
The Healthplex will house 10 emergency room beds, primary care offices, imaging services and the new base for WakeMed’s helicopter operations. Patients cannot be admitted.
It takes 15-20 minutes from most of Garner to get to WakeMed’s main campus on New Bern Avenue in Raleigh. Most Garner residents will live less than 10 minutes from the new facility.
HealthPlexes are already open in Apex, North Raleigh and Brier Creek. WakeMed also has a hospital in Cary and other outpatient centers around the Triangle.