Valley General Hospital History
The Sisters of Mercy took care of the sick and poor from the earliest days of Monroe. In September of 1892 they advised Snohomish County they were no longer able to do so.
Consequently, in June of 1893, the county built a two-story home for the ill, aged and indigent on land the county owned, and called it The County Farm and Hospital 40-acre tract was crossed diagonally by the Great Northern railroad tracks. The building faced north on the southern triangular portion of the tract near where Valley General Hospital now stands. The wood-frame building had 20 beds and cost $4,500. The larger northern portion was the farm with a barn for cows and for the two horses used for plowing. This area is where the Evergreen State Fairgrounds is now located. Mr. ML. Mahoney was hired to run the county home, care for, and furnish medicine to them. They did not handle contagious diseases. Those who were able worked at the farm tending livestock or raising crops. The farm produced and sold milk and ice cream and raised potatoes. They also had hogs and chickens. The cast-iron bell from the original building is in the Monroe Historical Museum.
In 1909, a second two-story building, the hospital annex, was built in front of the 1893 building. A staff of about seven or eight was employed to operate the facilities. In 1925, a new county hospital, a larger two-story stucco structure was built at a cost of $90,275 that would replace the two ageing wooden buildings. This hospital had 100 beds and fronted on Valley View Road (now 179th Ave. SE) and was just west of the old buildings. The first floor was for patients and the second floor was for the hospital and working staff. Although occupancy was usually much less, during one month during the Depression, 148 were cared for there. The original wooden buildings were demolished in the spring of 1929. The County Farm and Hospital, was often referred to as the 'poor farm" and operated until 1940. After Social Security was established and small pensions made available, the farm operation was discontinued. In 1941, the building was used only as a hospital and was called Valley View Hospital.
In 1949, the county leased the building as a private hospital and nursing home and was now called Monroe General Hospital. In May of 1960, Public Hospital District No.l was formed and in November of that year a bond issue for $385,000 was passed to purchase and renovate the old hospital. On February 1, 1961, the name was changed from Monroe General Hospital to Valley General Hospital. Since then, the hospital has been vastly expanded. The last trace of the old stucco hospital building was torn down in 1992 as Valley General Hospital continues to expand.
Since the mid-90's, Valley General Hospital (VGH) has offered Specialty Suite availability to provide "timeshare" space for non-Monroe based physician specialists to see patients on a part-time basis in Monroe. Historically, VGH has also leased out space on its second floor to Virginia Mason and Group Health, as well as, more recently to obstetricians, a pediatrician, an oncologist and a general surgeon.
In 2002, several Monroe specialists began discussing development of new additional Medical Office space in Monroe. Together they formed an LLC that purchased land from VGH and constructed a medical office building. The resulting building on the southwest corner of the VGH parking lot’s legal name is Sky River Medical Building. The MOB ownership is shared among: a number of local and regional Proliance physicians, local general surgeon, local spine surgeon, local obstetricians, a new rehabilitation group and optometrist and ophthalmologist. VGH has no MOB ownership interest; however, the hospital does have a right of first refusal to acquire the property if consideration is given to future sale of the MOB. The MOB has been developed and financed independent of the hospital with the assistance of the Gilbo Corporation.
The hospital has leased approximately 20,000 sq. feet of MOB space to locate several hospital outpatient services in the building. These four leases included: (a) Diagnostics suite to include MRI, Ultrasound, Mammogram and a small laboratory specimen collection and draw station; (b) Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine; (c) relocation of VGH Specialty Suites and an ambulatory procedure room for pain management and other hospital outpatient services; (d) 5,000-6,000 sq feet to allow the MOB to include additional capacity for housing future physicians and/or expansion and development. As a part of the MOB project, VGH also "pre-invested" several activities for future hospital expansion; these include: (a) City of Monroe planning activities; (b) current and future parking capacity requirements; (c) road and intersection improvements; (d) on-site surface water retention requirements.
Closing of escrow of the land purchase agreement occurred in the fall of 2004 and construction commenced shortly thereafter. The construction project has proceeded rapidly and smoothly, facilitated by mild winter weather conditions. Various suites in the MOB (including the hospital's services) should be open in late August 2005, with an Open House/Building dedication planned for late September 2005.