Port Huron, MI — The transformation of the First Congregational Church into a state of the art neurology and spine clinic, open MRI center, and outpatient surgery center is well underway, and Dr. Marwan Shuayto, the president and founder of Michigan Neurology & Spine Center, is looking forward to moving his practice across the street to serve more patients.
During a recent tour of the progress, Dr. Shuayto eagerly shared his excitement for the project and his vision for future patient care.
The first phase of the renovation, the Blue Water Open MRI Center, will be ready for patients in a few days and offers a unique experience for those coming in for testing. Both the patient changing area and the MRI room have been designed to feel more like a Caribbean getaway than medical testing rooms. From floor to ceiling, patients will feel like they are stepping onto a beach and being immersed in a scene of sand, water, and sun.
When asked what his goal was with the MRI Center’s decor, Dr. Shuayto remarked, “I just want it to be a comfortable experience. Patients who seek an open MRI usually have claustrophobia or fear of tight spaces. Making the entire experience calming will help patients get over their anxiety.”
With much of the building under construction to make way for a clinic with seven providers, a physical therapy center, infusion center, and eventually a brand new surgery center, the building is undergoing remarkable changes. The new MRI Center currently occupies the previous choir practice room, and the patient changing area used to be inhabited by a giant fan that fueled the church’s pipe organ.
The church’s sanctuary will be the future main entrance for patients, and will keep its grand personality and high ceilings. It will feature the lobby and check in for patients visiting the center.
The middle of the building, which was once the fellowship hall and kitchen area, is being converted to the physical therapy department, and the educational wing will be part of the surgery center with the main floor functioning as pre-op and post-op patient areas, and the second floor housing the staff break rooms and locker rooms.
The operating room of the surgery center will be added as a new addition to the east side of the building in the current courtyard along 7th Street.
Dr. Shuayto expressed the importance of the operating room being new construction which is ideal for the sterile environment needed to protect patients. He also wants to accommodate those who will work in the future operating rooms by featuring high ceilings that will make everyone working in the space more comfortable.
“By doing an expansion and not just using the existing building, we are able to have a spacious, brand new, state of the art operating rooms and sterile corridors. I’m very excited about the surgery center because I believe Port Huron and the neighboring communities deserve the best.” said Dr. Shuayto.
The new medical center will be hiring a multitude of staff once it’s up and running. There will be openings for surgical techs, Registered Nurses, and administrative and management staff, and the priority will be to hire from within the community.
“I’m the type that likes to hire from within the community that I work in. With the surgery center, we could have applicants applying from all over the country for the position of CEO and CFO, but I will be looking to hire from within the community,” said Dr. Shuayto.
The transformation of a church with a long history in the community into a medical facility can be seen as a sign of the times. Churches in Southeast Michigan have been converted into residential homes, retail stores, and even breweries.
Dr. Shuayto’s investment in the building, and his desire to create something valuable for the community, will continue to make it a place of comfort for those who need to be cared for.
Reporting for WGRT – Jessie Wiegand