The emergency room in the new $19 million Neshoba County General Hospital will open for services next week, when the transfer of patients from the old facility gets underway.

The new ER is scheduled to open on Wednesday, July 17. New patients will be admitted to new hospital at that time as well.

The hospital's new helipad, located in the southwest corner of the hospital near the EMS facility, opened Monday.

Workmen are scheduled to demolish the old CT modular building, located between the old and new hospitals, over the next 10 to 14 days, said Annette Watkins, director of public relations/marketing.

New landscaping and handicapped parking spaces will be added in its place, she said.

Work on a new main entrance to the hospital near the Neshoba Medical Arts building is also scheduled to begin soon.

The current entrance at the four-way stop at Holland Avenue and Hospital Road will be closed. The second entrance off Hospital Road will remain open, Watkins said.

Ribbon was cut opening the new hospital on Sunday, June 30.

CEO and Hospital Administrator Lonnie Graeber credited teamwork, patience, perseverance and "primarily the help of the Good Lord" for the new hospital becoming a reality after nine years of planning.

Graeber told those in attendance that construction would, however, remain ongoing.

Phase 1 will also include renovations to the first floor of the current hospital to accommodate a new laboratory, respiratory department, gift shop and chapel, Graeber said.

Plans also call for the expansion and repaving of the patient/visitor parking lot with new signage. A new courtyard will be constructed between the two buildings and the current hospital entrance canopy removed.

That entrance will be closed and replaced by a store-front corridor from the new hospital to the cafeteria and nursing home for a more direct approach and to architecturally blend the old and need.

"All of Phase 1 is included in our $19 million budget," Graeber said.

In addition, Graeber said by the end of this year, construction would begin on a new outpatient rehab building, providing physical, occupational and speech therapy services.

"And, by this time next year, we intend to begin construction on another medical office building to house family practice, internal medicine and pediatric physicians who care for patients in our hospital," Graeber said at the ribbon cutting.

"Both of these will be located on the west side of our campus at an estimated cost of $3 million to be funded from cash reserves."

Phase 2 of the overall hospital construction project will continue with renovations to the second and third floors of the current hospital to provide overflow inpatient and outpatient beds and the start of OB/GYN services, he said.

"These are in the planning stages with costs and financing still to be determined," Graeber said.

"We would hope to have definition of these projects along with a timeline within the next year."