Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

A patient is more than a lump of flesh, and a hospital is more than concrete and snazzy technology.

To that end, the Wyoming Medical Center's new McMurry West Tower features a chapel on its second floor to serve the spiritual needs of patients, their family members and friends, hospital staff, and physicians, its chaplain said.

"Probably, I would think 20- to 25 percent of our patient base are from out of town," the Rev. Keith Evans said.

"So we have a lot of extended families that are here in Casper and they don't have a place to worship so we're trying to have some other outlets for them to de-stress as well," Evans said.

The new chapel is on the second floor of the $47.3 million, 100,000-square-foot West Tower, which held an open house last weekend. The transfer of equipment and employees will occur in October. Patients will be moved in November to the Ruth R. Ellbogen Family, Mother and Baby Center, and the entire fourth floor for the Jerry Behrens MD Orthopedic, Spine and General Surgery Center.

The new space is double or triple what the hospital has had, Evans said. It probably can accommodate as many as 50 people, which opens the possibilities for more service, and services, he said.

"We're going to be able to offer probably a Catholic Mass each week, that our local diocese have said they would love to help us out here," he said. "We'll also do a Protestant Christian service and have that arranged with local community pastors."

The chapel has a couple of adjacent offices that can be used for private counseling sessions either with himself or local clergy working with families. The space could be used for music recitals and other family activities, too, he said.

The chapel complements the new landscaped healing garden with walkways and benches and immediately south of the West Tower, Evans said.

Evans is the full-time chaplain, he said. He was a chiropractor and on the pastoral staff of First Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas. Evans earned a Master of Divinity from Liberty University, and completed his Clinical Pastoral Education in San Antonio before moving to Casper for the hospital chaplaincy in 2012.

A part-time chaplain works with him now and another part-time chaplain with a Catholic background will start after the chapel offices move from their current location, he said.

Evans spends most of his time counseling families and especially counseling the more than 1,000 hospital staff who deal with life-and-death issues daily, he said.

"It's a place away from their coworkers, a place where they can  just re-center themselves, listen to some quiet music, read some passages, scriptures to reflect on what their day is, and decompress a little bit from the stresses that happen."