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Celebrating the Circles of CKMC
new deh ckmc main pic

The Sunday, Jan. 28, 1962, edition of the Great Bend Tribune has a front page photo of a partially built round tower at what was then known as Central Kansas Medical Center.
The photo caption read: “Pattern of Progress  — Concrete pouring forms are in place for part of the unique circular structure of the Central Kansas Medical Center at Broadway and Polk.  Typifying the current trend of progress in Great Bend, the hospital is the largest construction project ever undertaken in the city.  The $3.75 million structure, being built by Dondlinger and Sons Construction Co. of Wichita, accounted for the major portion of the record $5 million in building permits taken out here last year.  Due to be completed in the last half of 1963, the hospital will have an ultimate capacity of 238 beds.”
The photo shared the page with a story about how clouds delayed attempts to rocket astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. into orbit around the world.  “This was the fifth postponement since Dec. 20 and the dismally disappointing end to a week that was supposed to have been the greatest in U.S. space history.  Probably nobody was more disappointed than the 40-year-old astronaut himself.  His friends said he had been anxiously awaiting the ‘go’ signal.”
By October of 1963, classified ads in the paper for rentals and houses for sale were touting “close to the new medical center.”
The Friday, Feb. 28, 1964, edition of the Great Bend Daily Tribune announced “KU Chancellor Will Deliver Med Center Dedication Talk.”
W. Clarke Wecoe, M.D., Chancellor of the University of Kansas, would deliver the address on Sunday at 2 p.m. Great Bend’s Mayor, Elden Harwood, and H.P. Thies, president of the Community Hospital Association, would introduce guests and present the official keys to the medical center to Mother Mary Francesca, O.P., Mother General of the Dominican Sisters of Great Bend, who operated the present St. Rose Hospital and the new Central Kansas Medical Center. The Rev. Ernest Wood, president of the Great Bend Council of Churches, would offer the invocation. The Most Rev. Marion F. Forst, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Dodge City, would pronounce the benediction. Public tours were offered, allowing people to view the entire building from top to basement.  The final cost of the building was $4.25 million. A special 40-page section with stories and pictures of the medical center appeared in that day’s paper.

An earlier version of this article ran in Tribune reporter Veronica Coons’ weekly feature “Out of the Morgue.”