Mary Free Bed celebrates grand re-opening of hospital

ribbon-cutting-oct-13-2016-groupGrand Rapids, Mich. — Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital celebrated its grand re-opening on Thursday, Oct. 13 in a ceremony attended by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Sen. Peter MacGregor and Mary Free Bed Guild members, trustees, staff, patients and friends.

“For more than a century, Mary Free Bed has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the West Michigan community,” Snyder said. “The outstanding doctors, nurses and therapists who work here have always provided outstanding services to their patients, and I’m proud to join with them as we celebrate the grand re-opening of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.”

The event was highlighted by the announcement that the name of the recently constructed hospital is the Bernedine Keller & Barbara Hoffius Center (formerly the West Building) and the dedication of a time capsule celebrating Mary Free Bed’s 125th anniversary of restoring hope and freedom through rehabilitation.

The grand re-opening marked completion of the second phase of the hospital’s $66.4 million expansion and renovation project that makes Mary Free Bed the fifth-largest independent rehabilitation hospital in the United States. The transformative project creates a healing environment for patients, families and staff that marks a new era in rehabilitation care.


Pictured are Barbara Hoffius and Bernedine Keller at the Sept. 9, 1976 opening of the original hospital. Instead of a traditional ribbon-cutting, Babs (center), Guild president at the time, and Bernie, Guild member and Board of Trustees secretary, opened the hospital with a “crutch-cutting” ceremony.

Thursday’s ceremony honored long-time Mary Free Bed volunteer administrators Bernedine Keller and Barbara Hoffius. Present at the unveiling of the new name were family members Dirk and Steve Hoffius as well as Fred Keller and his sister, Kathy Laidlaw. Bernedine, who served as president of the Mary Free Bed Guild from 1970 to 1973, passed away in 2011. Barbara was president of the Guild from 1973 to 1977; she died in 1996.

“During their tenures as president of the Mary Free Bed Guild, Bernie Keller and Babs Hoffius made pivotal decisions that set the stage for our success today,” said Kent Riddle, Mary Free Bed President and CEO. “As we improve the futures of patients from Michigan and beyond, it’s marvelous that it occurs in this specially designed building that bears their names.”

The Keller & Hoffius Center opened in March 2015. The $42 million building brings the number of private inpatient beds on the Grand Rapids campus to 167. It includes specialized therapy gyms and sophisticated technology, including ceiling-mounted gait and balance training systems and robot-assisted walking therapy.

The building also is home to the Mary Free Bed Orthotics and Prosthetics + Bionics department, OrthoSEAT and the Driver Rehabilitation program, as well as the Assistive Technology and Augmentative Communication department.

The second phase of the project targets renovation of the original building. The first floor serves as the main welcome center for the entire campus. The cheerful lobby features “Bloom,” a nature-inspired glass and metal sculpture that fills the three-story atrium and was designed to be motivating and energizing. There also is a Biggby Coffee bar, day lockers for patients and visitors to secure their belongings during outpatient visits, a patient library and a whimsical water fountain. To enhance the patient experience, there is valet parking, a greeter to assist patients with mobile check-in, registration staff and waiting areas.

Much of the first floor is dedicated to Mary Free Bed’s Outpatient Services and includes specialized therapy gyms and treatment rooms, and a new ADL (Activities of Daily Living) Apartment for outpatients to practice home-life skills. There are two new therapy pools, one slightly warmer and one slightly cooler to better accommodate individual patient needs.

Multiple medical clinics that serve pediatric and adult patients, the pediatric feeding program, psychology offices and the nutrition department are located here as well as the Day Rehabilitation program and the Weight Management program.

The Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports Department, one of the largest programs in the country, has a new location on the first floor that enables inpatients, outpatients and community members to register for adaptive sports clinics or teams, and try specialized sports wheelchairs or check out the adaptive equipment on display.

The second floor houses Recreation Therapy, where patients learn to regain their quality of life. This is a key therapeutic destination featuring zones of activities such as crafts, woodworking, video games, billiards and a quiet reflection room.

The third floor is a 12-bed, private-room Pediatric Inpatient Unit with areas for specialized physical, occupational, recreational and speech therapy, age-appropriate social spaces, treatment rooms and a procedure room. For safety, access to the pediatric unit is selectively granted to specific staff and parents or caregivers. An additional 15 private patient rooms are available for pediatric and adult specialty services.

The next phase of the project includes renovation to the adjacent Professional Building and Mary Ives Hunting Center, which will house a new conference center and catering kitchen, hospital administration and other hospital support services. The inn at Mary Free Bed will be enlarged from six to 22 rooms.

Mary Free Bed is a not-for-profit, nationally accredited, rehabilitation hospital. For 125 years, Mary Free Bed has restored hope and freedom through rehabilitation for children and adults who have experienced brain injuries, strokes, spinal cord injuries, multiple traumas, amputations, cancer and other diagnoses. The combination of comprehensive services and an exclusive focus on rehabilitation enables specialty physicians and staff to help patients achieve outstanding clinical results. Mary Free Bed employs more than 1,100 employees, including doctors, therapists and nurses who are experts in the field of rehabilitation. During Fiscal Year 2016, which ended March 31, 2016, Mary Free Bed served more than 1,600 inpatients and 30,000 outpatients. For additional information, visit

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