The dedication of the new state-of-the-art hospital for Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria was celebrated March 7 (after The Tidings’ deadline).The entire Central Coast community --- from Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties --- was invited to attend the community celebration, scheduled to include a formal ceremony, open house and tours of the new facility on Palisade Drive in Santa Maria, a short distance from the former facility on East Church Street just east of Highway 101 in north Santa Barbara County. 

The celebration marked the completion of construction of the $218 million, 235,000-square-foot, 191-bed facility that doubles the size of the existing hospital.

“The opening of the new Marian Regional Medical Center will be a monumental step forward in health care for not only Santa Maria, but for all Central Coast communities,” said Charles J. Cova, president and CEO of the hospital and Dignity Health Central Coast Service Area. 

“Marian Regional Medical Center may be the newest hospital on the Central Coast,” he added, “but health care is about more than a new building. It is a promise to provide our patients and community with exceptional medical care, today, tomorrow and every day.”

Built at a cost of $218 million, the new Marian Regional Medical Center features include the latest in lifesaving technology, private patient rooms, a 21-bed Newborn ICU, expanded Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit, advanced cardiac care, comprehensive oncology care and superior imaging services. 

One of the most exciting aspects of the new hospital, according to officials, is the facility’s private patient rooms; offering privacy and clinically shown to enhance the healing process. MRMC’s private patient rooms also feature room-in capabilities for loved ones of patients. 

The new facility is on schedule to open to the public on March 27, when all inpatients will be moved from the existing facility on East Church Street to the new hospital, which will begin admitting patients. Opened in 1967, the current Marian Medical Center occupies a 10-acre parcel of donated land from Allan and Marian Hancock (Captain Hancock’s only condition for the donation was that the hospital be named for his wife). Since then, it has served the community for the past 44 years as Santa Maria has grown to its current population of 175,000 — now the largest city in Santa Barbara County.  

A not-for-profit hospital originally founded by the Sisters of Saint Francis in 1940, Marian Regional Medical Center is part of the Dignity Health (formerly Catholic Healthcare West) and is also part of Dignity Health of the Central Coast with sister hospitals in San Luis Obispo County: Arroyo Grande Community Hospital in Arroyo Grande, and French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. Dignity Health is the fifth largest health care system in the United States. (To learn more go to 

Marian is offering additional public tours of the new hospital on March 10 (9 a.m.-2 p.m.) and March 11 (noon-3 p.m.). Reservations are recommended; call (805) 739-3105. 

 (An article on the dedication will appear in the March 16 issue of The Tidings.)

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