With a cadre of shovels, representatives from St. John’s Medical Center and the St. John’s Hosptial Foundation — along with one elderly Living Center resident in a wheelchair — moved the ceremonial first scoops of dirt Thursday at the future site of Sage Living.

With that began the next step of a multiyear process that started with a specific purpose excise tax vote in May 2017 and will end with a revamped nursing home and senior care facility. Local officials gathered for brief remarks, and the assembled took plates of chocolate cake to go after the speeches.

Following the gentle crowd noise of Thursday’s ceremonial groundbreaking, the actual din of construction will fill East Jackson, at least the part near the hospital, as the process of building the facility begins.

“We anticipate a 24-month construction period,” Chief Communications Officer Karen Connelly said.

To maintain that goal, construction will run from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., seven days a week. Parking lots, particularly on the west end of the campus where the construction will be, will be affected, and patients may have to park in a different lot than they are used to. However, Connelly said, no clinics will close, and those that are displaced will be relocated.

Check TetonHospital.org/sageliving for construction and closure information. The hospital asks that patients allow themselves a little more time to make it to their appointments because of the work.

"We thank everyone for their continued support and appreciate the community's patience and understanding during construction of this large and vital project," Connelly said in a press release.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-5902 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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