WMC Foundation breaks ground on the new Masterson Place

By Caryn Dowell Jul 9, 2018

The Wyoming Medical Center Foundation broke ground on the much-anticipated new Masterson Place this morning.  We currently have a Masterson Place hospitality home on Yellowstone Highway about a mile from the hospital, but it has become old and worn, often needing repairs. It serves patients and families throughout the state of Wyoming. In fact, we have had guests stay with us from every county in our state. By providing an affordable place to stay while in Casper for any medical reason, many people living in rural areas who do not have access to specialists or the latest technical equipment are able to come to Casper for the great medical care that we offer here. You might say that it’s our way of helping Wyoming residents live healthier lives.

Given the condition of the current Masterson Place, the WMC Foundation’s board of directors decided it was time to build a new facility to better serve patients a few years ago. Having started as a $7.3 million project in 2015, last fall we decided to scale back on the plans to reduce the cost, to allow it to be built sooner. By making a few changes, we were able to reduce the cost to $4.8 million. For those of you that are familiar with this project, you can understand why we are so excited to be breaking ground today. Plans have been in the works for quite some time.

Although we made a few changes in the design, we were able to keep the integrity of the building. It will be a two-story structure with an elevator and it will be ADA compliant so that we may serve all guests. There will be a lobby area with a two-sided fireplace, a TV, and a Community Room with an oven, refrigerator, microwave, as well as tables and chairs where the Angels Cancer Care Program volunteers can continue to serve their monthly dinners for our guests. As you will see, the new Masterson Place will have areas that allow for visiting with one another, building friendships during difficult times in patients’ lives.

There will be 14 guest rooms, each equipped with a kitchenette that includes a small refrigerator, microwave and sink. Laundry facilities, vending and ice machines will also be available for guests to use.

This new location is ideal. We have Wyoming Medical Center to thank for donating the land on the corner of Third and Washington streets. It will be within walking distance of the hospital, Casper Surgical Center and numerous physician offices. There will also be easy access to the hospital cafeteria.

I am happy to report that we have raised almost the entire $4.8 million needed. The Masterson Place project has been completely funded by donations and grants from our extremely generous Casper community.

There are numerous people to thank for their contribution in making today possible. First and foremost, I need to thank my Wyoming Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors who saw the need for a new hospitality home and made it a priority as our latest project. The board thought it was so important that they designated $1 million of Foundation funds to this cause. In particular, I would also like to thank those board members that serve on our Masterson Place and Capital Campaign committees.

Thank you to Michele Chulick, Wyoming Medical Center’s CEO and President. You helped me by providing  some great ideas along the way. Thank you as well to Vickie Diamond, Wyoming Medical Center’s previous CEO and President, for your encouragement from the start. And thank you to both of you for your constant support and guidance.

There is one board member in particular that I would like to acknowledge at this time. Dick Dresang was our Masterson Place Committee Chairman for many years. Unfortunately, he passed away just a few months ago and we miss him greatly. When his son told me what happened, my first thought was that he wouldn’t be here to see Masterson Place built, for it was truly his “baby.” So Dick Dresang, we thank you for all that you did for Masterson Place and for the WMC Foundation.

The New Masterson Place project began before I took my position here as the director, but when I came on board three years ago, we needed to complete the NERD Health and Wellness Center Project first. I would like to thank Alisha Rone, the director before me, who worked on all of the initial Masterson Place plans with the architects and applied for (and received) awards for One Cent money from both the City of Casper and Natrona County.

Thank you Drs. Robert Tobin and John Purviance for graciously agreeing to be our Capital Campaign Co-Chairs. Dr. Tobin and I shared many emails and phone calls to determine how to proceed with our fundraising efforts. He and Dr. Purviance have been strong supporters of Masterson Place from the beginning. It is much appreciated.

Of course there would not be a Masterson Place without the Masterson family. In 2001, Masterson Place was founded after a generous $1 million donation from Mary Masterson in honor of her husband, Jim. Their son is John Masterson, the current outgoing Chairman of the WMC Board of Directors. John and Sue, you agreed to be our Honorary Capital Campaign Project Co-Chairs even with your busy schedules. Thank you to you and your Masterson Family Foundation who have helped to support the current Masterson Place throughout the years and have given generously to the new building.

I would like to thank Susie McMurry and the McMurry Foundation for their most generous donation to the new Masterson Place. I’d also like to thank Susie for the other ways in which she has contributed to this new building. Susie is a dedicated WMC Foundation Board member, a Masterson Place committee member and an Angels Cancer Care volunteer who helps provide dinners to our guests once a month. She has several connections to Masterson Place and knows how important this project has been. Susie, your wonderful support and encouragement has helped me immensely in my role as the director and I thank you.

Thank you very much to Wyoming Machinery Company and to Rich Wheeler for your extremely generous donation and for understanding how valuable Masterson Place is to so many families across the state. I had the opportunity to take a tour of your company and learn more about you. I am very impressed by the size and cleanliness of the plant and the dedication of your employees, which says a great deal about your company. 

I would like to thank Dick and Linda Wheeler, also for an extremely generous donation to Masterson Place. You heard that we were still short of needed monies and you helped tremendously.

Of course with such a large project I’m not able to individually thank everyone now who has made a donation or helped in other ways, but I hope that those of you that have done so, know how much we appreciate your contribution. Every donation has made today possible and in about one year, we will see the beautiful results from everyone’s generosity.

Caryn Dowell

Caryn Dowell is the executive director of the Wyoming Medical Center Foundation. Contact her at (307) 577-2403 or cdowell@wyomingmedicalcenter.org.

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