REXBURG, Idaho -

One of the region's largest maternity centers is reborn this week.

It may not look it from the outside, but Madison Memorial Hospital will open its new $1.9 million Family Maternity Center on Friday.

The entrance might not be finished for another month-and-a-half, but the man who designed it says it's the first of several features to make the chaotic rush to the hospital a little easier for the expectant couple.

"It's a little more visible for parents as they're coming up in that somewhat frantic state of, 'Oh my gosh! My wife's having a baby!'" said architect Brent McFarland, pointing out the large, circular canopy he created.

Meanwhile, inside the center, staff are busy adding finishing touches.

Everything from wall to wall is brand-new and designed to accommodate the large families and high birth rate Rexburg is known for.

Interim Director of Family Maternity Services Betty Barney says it's all about streamlining the birthing process.

"We've done a lot of upgrades in the rooms that make it more efficient for our nurses," Barney said, pointing out the extra storage space in the labor rooms.

The state-of-the-art equipment isn't just about making the nurses' job easier. It also makes things more comfortable for mom and dad, Barney said.

One new feature will allow first-time mothers to access educational programs about taking care of their newborn from a monitor in the private labor room.

Maternity care is a centerpiece of Madison Memorial Hospital's services. Hospital officials look forward to making that centerpiece pop.

"Because there are so many babies delivered here, it's important that we have an attractive, inviting facility," said hospital CFO Cecil Ricks.

Barney said 160-170 births are scheduled to take place in Madison Memorial Hospital in May. That, she said, is a hospital record.