Prematernal Home Ground Breaking

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Prematernal Home Director Doreen O'Brien celebrates the start of construction on a brand new facility, which has been on the community's wish list for two decades. (Photo by Donna Bach)

YKHC broke ground Wednesday, Sept. 19, to mark the start of construction for the $12.6 million Prematernal Home, located on Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway in Bethel. The facility will be a place for the region’s expectant mothers to stay during the last

month of their pregnancies.

Funding was included in the governor’s 2011 Capital Projects budget, largely a result of the diligent work of Bethel’s Senator Lyman Hoffman and Representative Bob Herron. Bethel will soon see a new replacement for the existing Prematernal Home, which has been in dire need of replacement for nearly 20 years.

Leading the groundbreaking were YKHC President/CEO Gene Peltola, and Prematernal Home director of 22 years, Doreen O’Brien. The new facility will provide space for up to 30 expectant mothers.

The concept of the prematernal home model first began in the late 60’s when a young pregnant woman from an area village was found sleeping under an overturned boat near the old Bethel hospital because she had no place to stay prior to her delivery. A local task force responded to the need so no other area women were turned away for lack of resources and to ensure a safe and healthy delivery in Bethel.

The expected completion of the new Prematernal Home will be early winter, 2014.

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