(Joplin, MO) -- It's another chapter in Mercy Health System's road to recovery in Joplin. Sunday marked the opening of a new, temporary hospital.
Mercy has opened a new, two-story facility within walking distance of the old hospital that was destroyed in the May 22, 2011 EF-5 tornado.
The opening of Mercy Hospital Joplin serves as a "welcome back" for the people who lost a part of themselves when the tornado hit.
"That was someplace that belonged to everyone in the community," registered nurse Julie Blanklenship told KOLR/KOZL in the days ahead of Sunday's opening. "It has been my second home."
The 150,000 square-foot facility is smaller than the old hospital. It's roughly a quarter of the size of the more permanent hospital set for completion in 2015.
The building is supposed to be able to withstand 200 mile-per-hour winds, but it's more than steel and concrete. It has 55 private rooms, with the capability to expand to 110 semi-private beds.
Click here for more information about the project
Mercy Health System says during the 8.5-month project, 224 custom units were transported by semi trailers from a California manufacturer. Some were 60 feet long by 14 feet wide. They arrived 80 percent complete and were finished on site. Exterior and interior finishes transformed the modules into a hospital that's indistinguishable from one conventionally built.