One letter at a time. That was the drill on Wednesday morning this week as the nameplate went up over the entrance to the new Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. A Columbia Construction worker was perched on a ladder to do the job, while project manager Connie Bulman looked on, standing in an empty parking lot awash in unseasonably warm April sunshine. It was one of a flurry of final touches underway as the hospital prepares for its grand opening on Saturday night and Sunday morning this weekend. There was still plenty to do — cleaning, sweeping, final bits of welding — and Tim Walsh admitted that the inches-thick punch list he was keeping close at hand included no allowance for shut-eye.

“Sleep before Saturday? I don’t think so,” the hospital president and chief executive officer said as he gave one more tour to the press of the 90,000 square-foot, $48 million red brick hospital that now looms over Eastville avenue in Oak Bluffs and is expected to meet the principal health care needs of the Vineyard in summer and winter for the next quarter century and beyond.

And it’s all most impressive — the spacious admitting areas designed with a careful eye for privacy, the state of the art operating, radiology and other medical equipment, the private patient rooms with views across the glittering Vineyard Haven harbor, the vast roof garden still unplanted but a boon to the imagination; picture growing enough vegetables to feed the entire town of Oak Bluffs. It almost makes you want to be sick just so you can stay there.

Well, almost.

But Mr. Bulman, a veteran out of the Carney Hospital in Dorchester, who has been on the Island for the past three years supervising this unprecedented Vineyard construction project, had a slightly different take. He talked about the way it differs from other hospital building projects he has supervised over the years.

“This building is all meant for the community; everything in this building is for patient care,” he said. “Other hospitals, they have research centers, all kinds of extras. This hospital, it is about the community; that is what it was designed for, that is what it’s all about.”

And an extraordinarily generous community at that — from the small group of large donors who assembled nearly four years ago and quietly put some $20 million on the table to jump start the capital campaign, to the ordinary Islanders who collectively gave more than $6 million in donations ranging from $1,000 to $2. Their names are all on a wall now, still covered with a white sheet that will be removed on Saturday night at an opening gala where some 1,000 invited guests are expected, people of every stripe who gave money to the hospital campaign. Some large donors will have their names placed on plaques outside various medical departments, a long-standing practice in hospitals throughout the country.

There will be other surprises too that will not be written about in the newspaper, in order to keep the surprise, of course.

You just have to go there and see. And if not Saturday night, there will be another chance on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. when there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the doors will be thrown open for the general public to view and tour the new hospital until 3 p.m. Free shuttle bus service will be provided from the regional high school in the event that the hospital parking lots fill up; more details appear in an advertisement on Page Fourteen in this edition.

On Wednesday morning, despite the punch list and every person around every corner needing his attention, Mr. Walsh appeared full of energy, eager to describe the details of this wonder building. “Twenty-four inches of concrete,” he marveled, showing off a basement of enormous boilers (capable of running on oil or propane), shiny new heat pumps and steam generators (for sterilizers) that seemed to have no end. The building has been built to high green standards, and includes 200 solar panels on a south-facing roof above the outdoor roof garden, the largest solar installation to date on the Island. The hospital received a grant for the panels, and it expects to receive a silver LEED certification for the entire building.

The hospital is not occupied yet — that will take place sometime in the next month, if all goes according to Mr. Walsh’s plan. Following the opening celebration, hospital medical staff will begin to practice in the new space — not with patients at first but in a true practice. There will be mock surgeries, mock emergencies, and all the sophisticated technology systems will be tested and used, again and again, until everyone is comfortable that they are ready for the real thing.

Then — and only then — the medical staff will move into the new building. For that reason, Mr. Walsh has not set a firm date for moving in.

“I’m not going to set a date, because I want everyone to do it when they are ready. And they will know when they are ready. I’m not in a rush to make it happen,” he said.

As for the old hospital, which is now married to the new hospital by a corridor, it will still have an important function, housing administrative offices, doctor’s offices, outpatient care and the hospital cafeteria. There will be some refurbishment, such as new shingles and paint, but that is about it. Mr. Walsh’s modest office will remain in the same corner space it has always been.

“This space costs a fortune to build,” Mr. Walsh said, standing near the capacious new emergency room entrance. “You can build administrative space cheaply. And that has always been the plan.”

In fact so far there has only been one thing that has not gone according to plan: apparently a barn swallow found the overhang of the main entrance to the new hospital an ideal spot to make its nest. Mr. Walsh confirmed that the decision was made to evict the swallow before the opening gala tomorrow night.

“That’s Columbia Construction’s job,” he said. “They are going to have to take care of that.”