ST. FRANCISVILLE — West Feliciana is getting a new hospital that will offer the latest in technology in a building three times the size of the first parish hospital when it opens its doors next week.

The new hospital, built behind the smaller, original facility on Commerce Street in St. Francisville, held a ribbon-cutting Monday with state and local officials and residents on hand. 

"We are here to celebrate the opening of our $28 million dollar hospital that is designed to deliver health care in the 21st century," longtime hospital board member Mitch Brashier said at the ceremony.

West Feliciana Hospital is a federally-designated critical access hospital, one of 27 in the state, meaning it provides services to a rural area, has 25 or fewer acute care inpatient beds and is located more than 35 miles from another hospital, though some distance exceptions may apply. 

"Our new hospital will be a prototype for rural critical access hospitals in the future," Brashier said. "It will utilize the latest technology and will focus on providing superior health care in a comfortable and welcome setting." 

The original, 18,000-square-foot West Feliciana Hospital, which will remain in operation until patients are transferred to the new building, opened in 1970 with five in-patient beds and four emergency room beds.

The new, 53,000-square-foot hospital has 12 in-patient beds and 8 emergency room beds.

Its advanced imaging and diagnostic departments now include new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) machines. The hospital has also entered into a new association with Woman's Hospital to offer three-dimensional mammography, hospital officials said. 

"Our old hospital was too small and was antiquated," hospital board Chairman Leonard Sullivan said before the ribbon-cutting Monday. 

"This is state-of-the-art," he said. 

The nearly $28 million project that broke ground in January 2016 was funded through the combination of a $17.75 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an $8 million loan from Investar Bank and $2 million from hospital reserve funds, according to hospital literature.

GraceHebert Architects and Curtis Group Architects designed the hospital. The contractor was Stuart and Company of Baton Rouge. 

The hospital, the only one in the parish, is expected to open the first week of September and was in the final stages of the federal and state permitting processes at ribbon-cutting time, CEO Lee Chastant said Monday. 

The older building at the front of the 19-acre medical campus will be re-purposed in the future, hospital officials said. 

"This is a milestone for our region," Chastant said in his remarks at the podium, adding, "It's the people that will make this truly a place of healing."

"We have a great team here," he said. 

Follow Ellyn Couvillion on Twitter, @EllynCouvillion.