“If you can sum up everything, it was always about providing local access to care,” VanDort said, “and that’s what we want to continue to do for the next 100 years.”
This year is Holland Hospital’s 100th anniversary.
To honor that, the hospital is hosting a community celebration in Centennial Park this weekend.
“We’re really trying to give it the 1917 feel,” VanDort said. “The music will reflect that, the food will reflect that, the games will reflect that.”
The community, she said, offers great support to the hospital.
“In Holland, we are so blessed to have an extremely supportive community,” she said. “We’ve got a robust community who really does embrace the hospital.”
That might not always have been the case. In fact, citizens in the early 1900s looking to build a hospital had a hard time getting support.
In fact, in 1904, citizens attempted a project called Bethesda Hospital, but it didn’t last long. It took more than a decade to get the next project underway. The Holland Common Council voted to establish a hospital in 1916, and for $15,000, the city bought a home with intentions to convert it into a hospital.
In 1917, Holland Hospital opened, boasting two wards, a nursery, an operating room, two private rooms and a semi-private room.
The hospital soon outgrew its space, and the city asked the residents to fund an expansion in 1921 and 1922 — both times, the proposals were voted down. So the city tried a different tactic. Several years later, officials approved a plan for the Board of Public Works to donate its utility profits to fund a new hospital — Holland City Hospital — which opened Jan. 9, 1928.
That hospital was in the same place the current hospital stands, at 602 Michigan Ave. in Holland. Through the years, the building has been upgraded, added onto, and finally torn down to make way for bigger, more up-to-date facilities — which also have been added onto and upgraded.
The most recent addition was in 2013, when a 23,400-square-foot spine and orthopedics unit added a second floor. Years earlier, in 2007, the hospital completed the largest expansion in its history, adding 90,000 square feet and renovating 48,000 square feet.
All of the upgrades and changes have been toward the same goal: offering quality local health care to the community, VanDort said.
“For me it’s just been so interesting to see the change in what I’d say is the way care is delivered in terms of facilities and technology,” she said. “The one thing that hasn’t changed is what people just want is the care and compassion with which nurses do their job. We want to meet patient needs, and that’s never changed.”
Holland Hospital has received many awards for the care it offers throughout the years. Most recently, it was listed in the Healthgrades 50 Best Hospitals and Truven’s 100 Top Hospitals, along with being given a CMS Five-Star Rating.
“I would submit we have had a 100 year history of employees at every level delivering excellent care. These efforts extend from a strong culture which has evolved throughout the entire centennial,” said Dale Sowders, Holland Hospital president and CEO. “Our commitment to the community is that we will continue this strong emphasis on service excellence and quality for the indefinite future. We are privileged to be the provider of choice on the lakeshore.”
“How do we continue to provide high quality to our community? You see us on the leading edge,” she said. “We want to be contemporary, so we will invest in our facilities and our technology. ... We will do the things that make sense that can keep things local.”
For a full list of the hospital’s centennial events, as well as a timeline of the historical points, photos and videos, visit 100.hollandhospital.org.
Holland Hospital: Then and now/1917 - 2017
- Population served: 12,000 - 250,000
- Area physicians: 10 - 375
- Hospital employees: 5 - 2,000
- Hospital inpatients: 100 - 8,100
- Outpatient visits: 0 - 421,000
- Newborns per year: 12 - 1,800
- Hospital size (square feet): 3,600 - 502,000