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SENATOBIA, Miss. — A new hospital will be opening in Senatobia, Mississippi at the end of July.

It’s been three years since North Oak Regional Medical Center closed in Senatobia, leaving folks in Tate County miles away from an emergency room or acute health care. That’s going to change at the end of this month, when Delta Health System opens Highland Hills hospital.

It’s all hands on deck at Delta Health Highland Hills Hospital as staff gets the facility ready for a July 29 soft opening. Highland Hills sits on the same “footprint” as North Oak Regional Medical Center.

“When it closed it was like, ‘Where are you gonna go now?” said Carolyn Burnett of Tate County. “Because there’s a lot of people here that really need that, even more the elders too, that need that hospital to be here.”

Location is the only similarity to the previous hospital.

“You can imagine the amount of work we’ve had to come in and do,” said Josh Hammonds, chief administrative officer of Delta Health-Highland Hills. “From moisture damage to air conditioning units weren’t running. So, we’ve had to completely go through the building and re-do almost everything.”

When it opens, Highland Hills will offer emergency services and acute care with 12 in-patient beds and six ER beds staffed 24/7. Upgrades include a full service lab and radiology department, and Thursday technicians were installing a new state of the art CT scanner.

Rebuilding and outfitting the hospital was a challenge during the pandemic, as construction materials were at times hard to come by. The pandemic also brought concerns about finding qualified nurses.

“Opening a new hospital, especially after a pandemic, I was extremely nervous,” said Jenny Miller, chief nursing officer. “There is a nursing shortage and I think that was really evident during the pandemic.”

Miller is encouraged more skilled nurses from Tate County and Senatobia have “come on board” recently, but there are still job openings.

Thursday afternoon, Senatobia mayor Greg Graves responded to the hospital opening.

“Senatobia is excited to welcome Delta Health Systems to our community. Highland Hills hospital will be such a blessing to our city and we eagerly anticipate their opening later this month. We look forward to them being an integral part of our community for many years to come,” Graves said in a statement sent to WREG.

The grand opening is planned for sometime in September. You can click here to learn more about job opportunities at the hospital.