A Dream Realized
The idea for a hospital in WaKeeney first originated back to the early 1920’s. However, this plan failed and was forgotten. The will of John Lemke was the impetus that resulted in the birth of Trego County-Lemke Memorial Hospital. His will provided that proceeds from the sale of real estate be used for the building of the Lemke Memorial Hospital. Those proceeds totaled $84,000.00. Along with this donation, J.G. Hixson donated one block of land for the hospital.
Because of rising costs, this sum was insufficient for constructing a complete hospital. A county bond election for $129,500.00 was held in April, 1948 and building commenced in March, 1949. It was soon discovered that once again funds were insufficient. The Commissioners proposed to issue bonds amounting to $25,000.00. This action was protested and had to be carried to the November General Election, where it passed by a 3 to 1 majority. The approximate cost of the hospital then totaled $253,000.00.
The first building planned was for a 6-8 bed ward room and 14 semi private rooms. The patient rooms were furnished by donations and decorated by a local women’s committee.
The hospital opened for business on January 12, 1951, with 6 nurses, 6 nurse aides, a lab technician, cook, housekeeper, maintenance man, office clerk and an administrator.
1965 found the hospital with a need for more space in the form of a Long Term Care Facility. While the Government planned the advent of Medicare, work on the new facility began. The dedication was held in 1967 and National Accreditation was earned in 1968.
Sophistication demands Renovations
The hospital continued to prosper, and in 1982 the need for renovation of the hospital became apparent. Medical treatment was more sophisticated and delivery of health care had changed. The emphasis was now on short stays and increased outpatient care. A new Birthing Room, Surgical Suite, Emergency Area, Laboratory, and X-ray Department were added. Patient rooms were renovated and enlarged. The new hospital was dedicated in 1987.
The Hospital Board of Trustees decided to renovate the Long Term Care Facility in 1992. Four new resident rooms were added, along with a new activity area and solarium. The existing resident rooms were renovated. The cost for the renovation was $750,000.00.
A new Physical Therapy, Cardiac Rehab, Wellness Center and Patient Registration additions were completed in 2000, along with a kitchen renovation. Effective April 1, 2003, the facility became a Critical Access Hospital with 25 beds.
In November 2004, the voters approved a 3.2 million dollar bond issue to remodel the existing 37-bed Long Term Care Facility, and to add a Physician Clinic and Six Bed Assisting Living. Dedication of the new improvements was held in March of 2006. In February, 2006, a satellite Physicians Clinic was opened in Ellis.
We currently employ approximately 150 individuals who care for the sick, provide preventive medical services, surgery, and give rehabilitative care. Our Physicians, Hospital Board, Administrator and Staff intend to continue to expand and develop the care offered in the community. In the future you can be assured, that modern care and treatment are available here in our own hometown.