At 7 a.m. Aug. 1, Castle Rock's new hospital opened for business — and things didn't begin quietly.
That was the time Kathryn Palermo, 28, of Castle Rock, arrived at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, full-term, dilated, and was greeted by a cheering throng.
“We came around the corner and they were clapping and cheering,” she said about the nursing staff.
Palermo and her husband, Dan Palermo, 31, were expecting to be expected, as they had scheduled the 7 a.m. time slot for her to be induced. But this level of welcome wasn't expected. Palermo, a hospital nurse there, was now on the receiving side and touched by the support.
“It couldn't have gone better,” she said.
The brand-new penthouse of a delivery room had a Jacuzzi tub, small chandelier over the sink, and a wall of windows full of mountain views. She doesn't remember seeing the mountain view, for a couple hours, anyway.
“Her eyes were tightly closed,” recalls her doctor, Juliet Leman, and they both laughed.
The baby was born at 10:57 a.m., healthy and content, no crying, really, and with a name already: Alexander.
And that's because there was a sign. A real sign-sign. Dan Palermo had thrown that name out there for consideration one day, a while back, and the very next morning, Kathryn was driving to work, and on the brand-new medical building next to the hospital was a brand-new sign: “Alexander.”
Turns out the building is named after Dr. George Alexander, Castle Rock's first physician, back in 1902. And there's more: After that sign, Kathryn, being taken on an orientation tour in the hospital, found out the tour guide's name was Alex.
Enough already. But no, there's more: The person who related some of this story is Christine Alexander, another hospital employee and co-worker.
In addition to a baby that day, the new hospital had about a dozen patients.
“The staff is marvelous,” said Gail Garn, 76, of Pueblo, recovering from knee surgery.
She received flowers, hand-delivered by the hospital's CEO, and a basket of goodies. While Alexander was the first to be born there, Garn was the first patient to arrive, so she got special treatment and gifts, too. Alexander and family got baby clothes and things from the Outlets of Castle Rock.
The new hospital, at 2350 Meadows Blvd., actually has been partially open for a while. Its emergency room has been operating since 2011. The Aug. 1 opening completes the $130 million project.