*Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the interior of a fountain at SSM St. Mary's Health Center. The interior is painted to look like the terrazzo flooring once located inside Mother Concordia Hall. This article has been updated to include the correct description.
A large crowd of people gathered Thursday afternoon at in for a blessing and dedication of the hospital's new lobby and entrance.
"This is just the beginning," Chief Nursing Officer Patti Kelley said. She said the changes come in conjunction with the hospital's renewed attention to its mission, specifically women's health.
The new entrance, which faces Clayton Road between Bellevue and Yale avenues, opened just after Thanksgiving, communications specialist Stacey Rynders said. Hospital officials chose to postpone the dedication until after the holiday season.
It includes a fountain with a painted* interior. The interior is designed to look like* the much-loved terrazzo flooring once located inside Mother Concordia Hall, which had to be taken down as part of the renovations, Rynders said. The new lobby developed little by little.
Major pieces that will be completed in the future are the installation of Clayton Road sidewalks, a bus stop and exterior signage, Rynders said. The hospital's pedestrian bridge will be renovated in the spring.
Streetscape work at the entrance to the hospital has been underway since May 2010.
Brother Mel Meyer, 84, designed two pieces of artwork for the new lobby. One of the stainless steel sculptures is a cross; the other is the Madonna and her child. Meyer, a Florissant native, operates in Kirkwood. He also worked on the hospital's chapel in the mid-1970s.
The artist received recognition Thursday and has created many art pieces in his decades-long career.
"I'm glad I don't have to go to the dedication of all of them," Meyer said jokingly as he ate hors d'oeuvres in the lobby.
Father Richard Heman spoke at the event and offered the blessing.
St. Louis County Councilman Pat Dolan also attended the event. He represents District 5, which includes Richmond Heights and .
St. Mary's has "always been such an integral part of the eastern side of the county," said Dolan, a Richmond Heights resident. He noted that it is the first building many people see as they travel from St. Louis city into the county and that he is glad to see the hospital doing "nice, quality projects."
Other officials at the event included St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and Richmond Heights Mayor James Beck, who said the renovations represent a good facelift for the building.
"It turned out beautiful," Beck said.