The long-awaited construction of a new long-term care facility at Loudoun County Memorial Hospital was celebrated this week by about 200 state and county officials, hospital administrators and personnel at a ground-breaking ceremony.

The new three-story building, which skilled-care beds, will replace the hospital's present 80-bed intermediate-care section. That area will be renovated as a 12-bed psychiatric unit after construction of the new building.

The new building will adjoin the present one near the northeast corner. It will have space for physical and occupational therapy, equipment storage and data processing terminals for billing and supply maintenance.

Construction is expected to be completed in July 1981 at an estimated cost of $4.2 million.

Hospital President Donald Larson said the addition was the result of a 1976 study that determined the need for expanded facilities.

"Based on our experience in taking care of the needs of long-care patients in the community, we felt that the extremely high demands of our beds, about 98 percent (occupancy), showed that the community wanted us to continue this type of care," Larson said.

"When the new building is completed, the hospital will be able to offer the full range of care, from intensive care to acute care, and from skilled care to intermediate care."