TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center celebrated the opening of its new Surgery Center on Wednesday.

Community members were invited to ceremonies at the center Wednesday afternoon, where short speeches were given by hospital administrators and a dedicatory prayer offered by its chaplain. After the traditional red ribbon was cut visitors went on self-guided tours of the 20,500-square foot facility.

“This is very exciting for all of us here at St. Luke’s,” St. Luke’s Magic Valley Administrator Mike Fenello said.

The Surgery Center, located on St. Luke’s property east of the hospital, is a state-of-the-art facility with five operating rooms and 19 pre- and post-operating stations. The center opens with orthopedic, podiatry, and ear, nose and throat physicians, but with a vision to expand to additional services in the future.

This is another chapter that started many years ago,” says Debbie Kytle, St. Luke’s east region administrator of Physician Services. “It has been a very long journey.

The idea to build an outpatient center started more than a decade ago, and some people in the community still remember those early conversations.

“This is another chapter that started many years ago,” said Debbie Kytle, St. Luke’s east region administrator of Physician Services, who helped spearhead the project. “It has been a very long journey.”

Mayor Shawn Barigar told the crowd that he used to work at the former St. Luke’s hospital, now the site of the County West Building, and remembers some of those discussions. It’s been a long time coming, but he said he’s grateful for those who continued to work on the project.

“We’re grateful for your investment in our community,” he said, “and in our people.”

Those who enjoyed visiting the Surgery Center's open house will have something else to look forward to in the future. Fenello said the hospital will continue to invest in the community and expand its services with a new medical office. Construction on the two-story building will begin before the year is out.

“It’s all part of a strategy to improve patient access to physicians,” he said. “Seventy-five new providers will be added over the next five years.”