Placement of final beam at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital topping off ceremony

Staff, Civic Visionaries and Community Members Gather to Sign Final Beam Put into Place During Major Renovation and Expansion Project

GLOUCESTER, Va. – At a “topping off” ceremony on December 20, Middle Peninsula community members were invited to sign the final beam placed over the new entrance to Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, celebrating a key milestone in the non-profit facility’s largest renovation and expansion project in nearly 40 years. A crowd of hospital staff, current and former leaders and citizens gathered to watch as a crane lifted the commemorative beam into position.

“I’ve been at Walter Reed going on seven years, and we’ve been talking about this project for what seems like a long time – and as you can see, it’s finally happening,” said Walter Reed Vice President/Administrator and Middle Peninsula Regional Leader Megan Crain.

Crain thanked hospital patrons for their patience throughout the construction process, which is expected to be completed by early to mid-2019 and includes a new Surgical and Inpatient Services building, an expanded Emergency Department, enhanced entrance and more – all designed to further increase patient care and comfort.

“Know that we’re committed to continuing to providing exceptional care to our patients and families,” said Crain.

Riverside Walter Reed Hospital leadership at topping off ceremony

The project included a new two-story, 65,000 square foot Surgical and Inpatient Services building with capacity for four new state-of-the-art operating suites, two procedure rooms, and pre-operative and post-operative recovery areas. It also boosts the number of private patient rooms available to 36, all located on the second floor of the new building.

The expanded Emergency Department will grow from 6,300 square feet to more than 16,000 square feet and include 18 beds, three major treatment rooms, a trauma room and a Family Care Room made possible through generous contributions from community members, businesses and volunteers. The Family Care Room offers privacy for families and loved ones during what may be one of the most difficult times in their lives.

“What we are witnessing being developed here in Gloucester is state-of-the art for a small community hospital,” said retired gastroenterologist Dr. Richard Crowder, who serves as Chairman of the Riverside Walter Reed Board of Directors. “You can look at other small community hospitals in rural areas, many of which have closed, many of which are struggling, and yet this hospital has thrived from the very beginning.”

Crowder emphasized that while state-of-the-art facilities help produce state-of-the-art care, the skill and expertise of the physician remains paramount.

“The standard set for physicians joining the staff of this hospital was high from the beginning,” said Crowder. “A physician had to be board certified in his or her specialty in order to obtain privileges at Riverside Walter Reed from the very beginning, and back then that was not true for many hospitals.”

The quality of life offered by the middle peninsula combined with high standards for physicians are a couple of reasons why Crowder believes Riverside Walter Reed Hospital thrives and continues to attract the top practitioners.

“Success begets success,” Crowder explained.  “Physicians want to associate themselves with other physicians that they have confidence in and enjoy interacting with, so if the standard is high, the natural consequence is that it is easier to attract other physicians of high caliber.”

Dr. Steven Hospodar of Riverside Orthopedic Specialists noted that the carefully-considered renovations at Riverside Walter Reed enable the hospital to further establish itself as a boutique, community-focused facility with high-quality care that is tailored to what matters to patients.

Dr. Steven Hospodar signs beam at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital topping off ceremony

“When it comes to health care, I believe it should be personal and custom, and this hospital lends itself to that at every level,” said Hospodar. “All the additions to the hospital that are occurring were thoughtful – the physicians were involved, nursing was involved, everyone was involved in thinking about what we are going to do and how we are going to do it.”

Ultimately, the renovations “allow us to continue to provide the personalized care that we’re delivering now, but in a more substantial way,” said Hospodar.

Also attending the ceremony was community visionary Robert Marble, who spent nearly a decade as the Riverside Walter Reed Hospital Board of Directors Chairman, nearly four decades volunteering for the Middle Peninsula community and 29 years as a Walter Reed Hospital Board member.

Marble reflected on his time as one of the founding members of the hospital and the tremendous impact it has had on so many lives.

“I have people tell me, ‘I probably would not be here except for that hospital,’” said Marble. “These were people who have had heart attacks or other serious ailments, and there wasn’t a quick way to get them to the Peninsula hospitals.”

“They said, ‘you know, without Walter Reed Hospital, I probably wouldn’t have made it.”

To accommodate the major expansion and renovations, Riverside Walter Reed’s main hospital entrance will move to the area of campus where the current Medical Arts Building entrance is located and be accessed from Gloucester’s Main Street and Medical Drive. Renovations related to this move include a new lobby, registration and waiting area, gift shop and much more.

A crane prepares to place beam at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital topping off ceremony

For more information on the Riverside Walter Reed Hospital renovation and a live webcam showing construction progress, visit


Published: December 21, 2017