SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—Local leaders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new helipad at Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston on Thursday.

Representatives from Thomas Memorial Hospital (which is an affiliate of WVU Medicine), HealthNet Aeromedical Services, and the City of South Charleston gathered to introduce the helipad at the South Charleston Campus.

Thomas Health says that the helipad will bolster emergency services at the hospital.

“The helipad is a valuable addition to Thomas Memorial Hospital and a very visible sign of progress as we continue to look for ways we can expand and improve healthcare in the Kanawha Valley,” said Albert L. Wright, Jr., the president and CEO of the WVU Health System and interim president and CEO of Thomas Health. “The decision to build the helipad was based on a desire to better serve critically-ill patients when they need us most.

Air transport service to the hospital will be provided by HealthNet Aeromedical Services, a not-for-profit organization that has provided critical care transport to Central Appalachia for more than 35 years.

The new helipad opening comes after Thomas Health announced that it would nearly double the number of intensive care unit beds at Thomas Memorial Hospital.