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Tornado delays opening of Mercy Edmond I-35

The opening of Mercy Edmond I-35 has been delayed until the summer of 2014. Doctors, nurses and other employees are working elsewhere in the metro area.
by Diana Baldwin Modified: July 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm •  Published: July 9, 2013

A Cushing emergency room doctor wanted to come home, so he signed on to work for a year in a 4,200-square-foot modular building in Edmond before moving into a new $88 million medical complex and wellness center.

Edmond Memorial High School graduate Dr. David Johnson started practicing family medicine in the no-frills office while the 206,000-square-foot Mercy Edmond I-35 was being built just up the road.

A May 19 tornado delayed the plans of Johnson and about 200 doctors, nurses and other employees waiting to start work in the new complex. Construction was six weeks short of completion when the three-story building took a direct hit by the tornado.

Mercy Edmond I-35 is now expected to open late in the summer of 2014.

“At times, it is cramped and tight,” Johnson, 33, said of his current working situation. “We know it is temporary.”

Before the tornado hit, the employees, including about 30 doctors, had expected to go to work in the new Edmond hospital Monday. Jobs have been found for them at other Mercy facilities in the metro area.

Nick Niver, Mercy Edmond I-35 administrator, said Mercy officials assured the employees their jobs were safe during the rebuilding process.

“We have hired some very talented people,” Niver said. “We're doing everything we can to make this recovery go as smoothly as possible for our future patients, members and co-workers. Everyone was open and flexible.”

Mercy officials in Oklahoma said they have relied on the experiences of their co-workers in Joplin, Mo., where a May 2011 tornado destroyed St. John's Regional Medical Center. Four people were killed.

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by Diana Baldwin
Sr. Reporter
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976 and came to The Oklahoman in 1991. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote...
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