Fort Sanders Regional Celebrates 100-Year Milestone

Posted on December 20, 2019

100 years – and more to grow on

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of chartering and breaking ground of Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, the hospital hosted a kick-off event in December including remarks from Fort Sanders Regional and Covenant Health leaders, a proclamation from the State of Tennessee read by Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, and a display of memorabilia and photos from years past. The multi-month observance of Fort Sanders Regional’s 100th anniversary will culminate in spring in spring 2020 with several facility expansion projects.

The charter for the downtown Knoxville hospital, built on the site of the historic Civil War Battle of Fort Sanders, was signed in 1919 and the first patients were admitted on February 23, 1920.

Keith Altshuler, president and chief administrative officer of Fort Sanders Regional, acknowledged the vision and dedication of physicians and staff, past and present.

“I’m certain the physicians who founded Fort Sanders Hospital 100 years ago couldn’t possibly envision the magnitude of their accomplishments as they stand today,” Altshuler said, “but as we reflect on an inspiring 100-year history, I am confident that we have many more accomplishments ahead in the next 100 years.”

Keith Altshuler of Fort Sanders Regional speaks at the 100th Anniversary kickoff event.
Keith Altshuler of Fort Sanders Regional speaks at the 100th Anniversary kickoff event.

Counting on Covenant Health

In the 1980s, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center’s leaders began to see a growing need for coordinated health services, not just in Knoxville, but in the surrounding area. The result was the creation of Fort Sanders Health System, an organization that included several area hospitals and a variety of outpatient services and specialties. In 1996, Fort Sanders Health System consolidated with Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge to create Covenant Health.

“Since that time, Covenant Health has become the top performing healthcare system in the region and serves over a million patients each year,” VanderSteeg said. “We’re the largest employer in the area with over 11,000 employees, and Covenant Health has been recognized five times by Forbes as a top employer.”

VanderSteeg said the anniversary celebration is more than a recognition of an organization that’s grown and changed – it’s a celebration of an organization that is still flourishing after a century.

“Three things will not change,” VanderSteeg said. “Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center will continue to be known for its commitment to the community, for innovation and for caring for each patient we are privileged to serve.”

Growing to Meet Community Needs

Fort Sanders Regional is currently undergoing a $115-million dollar construction project to nearly double the capacity of the hospital’s emergency department. The expansion will also add two floors to the hospital’s Center for Advanced Medicine for critical care services.

Speakers at FSR100 anniversary event

memorabilia on display at FSR100 event
A display table of memorabilia included photos of the original site and a cannon ball found from the Battle of Fort Sanders.

Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, a member of Knoxville-based Covenant Health, is a 541-bed regional referral center for neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, oncology, cardiology, obstetrics and rehabilitation medicine. For more information, visit

Read more about  the Fort Sanders Regional 100th Anniversary Kick-off Event here and view photos by clicking here.

Hear the CEO’s comments by clicking on the video below.