NORMAN — Following the May 20 tornado, the Moore Medical Center was a gaping wound of a building with windows blown out and missing walls.
Chief nursing officer Nancy Brown described her feelings to Health System board members when she arrived on the scene at Moore Medical shortly after the tornado hit.
“How many are in there dead?” she said was her first thought. She could not believe a mother giving birth and all other patients survived without serious injuries.
The Norman Regional Health System is one of the largest employers in Cleveland County, providing jobs for more than 2,700 people.
Hospital officials estimate that at least 289 NRHS employees’ jobs were affected by the May 19, 20 and 31 storms, while nearly 100 other employees needed assistance ranging from food, shelter, and clothing to assistance with transportation due to loss or damage to vehicles.
All vehicles parked at Moore Medical were destroyed on May 20. Just over a month after that tornado, MMC was demolished.
“It’s not salvageable. We’re going to have to get what we can out of it and then it will be scraped off,” Norman Regional Health System CEO David Whitaker reported at the May board meeting.
Hospital officials say it will take three years to rebuild a new version of Moore Medical. An assessment will determine the community’s needs for the future design.
In the meantime, a temporary medical facility will serve Moore. Health System officials have filed insurance claims to offset the cost of replacing the Moore facility. Numbers anticipated from the insurance reimbursement have not been officially confirmed.
“A tornado safe area for patients and staff will be included in the temporary facility,” said Kelly Wells, NRHS spokesperson.
Unlike Moore Medical, that tornado safe area will not have space for members of the public, but those people who are on site will have someplace safe to take shelter, she said.