La PORTE — La Porte Hospital has unveiled the site where they plan to construct a new hospital to better serve the City of La Porte and the surrounding area – right next to the current hospital.
“Building this new hospital at the current location is significant for downtown La Porte,” said La Porte Mayor Blair Milo. “The hospital has long been an anchor for downtown activity, and remains a viable part of our physical and economic health and wellbeing of our community."
Precisely where the new hospital will be constructed in relation to the old hospital, however, is yet to be determined.
“All this is, is site selection. We just know we are going to build here. Now, where exactly on the property we own downtown is not actually clear yet,” said Regional Manager of Community Relations Stacey Kellogg.
Surrounding the current hospital at 1007 Lincoln Way are various parcels of property already owned by La Porte Hospital, as well as some small lots not owned by the hospital such as Kliss Electronics, the Post Office and a small empty lot where St. Paul's United Church of Christ once stood – which, according to Beacon’s tax records, is not owned by the hospital.
Kellogg stated the hospital owns enough property in the area to build the projected 200,000 square foot facility without acquiring any of the unowned property. Matters such as where employees and vistors would park during construction - if the new facility were to be built on land currently occupied by parking lots - were all issues to be resolved in the ongoing planning stage.
“We don’t have the details on all of it yet, nor will we until we figure out where it’ll end up on our property,” Kellogg said.
While renderings and full-scale details are still being finalized, La Porte Hospital Board President Mark Kosior said the community can expect a five-story building which will be designed to accommodate future growth. The current hospital boasts 60 beds, the new hospital stated to house even more patients.
“La Porte Hospital staff and physicians are deeply committed to having a thriving community hospital, and we are excited to announce this major step forward. The site selection process was comprehensive, and we are confident that 1007 Lincoln Way is the ideal location for us to be able to continue to provide high quality, compassionate acute care to the communities we serve,” said Ashley Dickinson, CEO of La Porte Hospital.
More than 20 locations were vetted throughout the county in the last year and input collected from building professionals, community leaders, hospital staff, physicians and board members in the decisions of where to place the new hospital.
Dickinson said factors considered in the site evaluation included suitability of land, traffic patterns, ease of access, proximity to the newest EMS station, central accessibility for the communities served by the hospital, visibility, and economic development and vitality.
While the new hospital will replace the current facility, the old hospital will continue to remain in operation during construction of its replacement. What will become of the old hospital after the new facility opens, however, has yet to be determined.
“I do know there is a commitment not to leave a vacant building downtown, that will not be an issue,” Kellogg said.
Dickinson said new hospitals tend to be a positive influence in recruiting new physicians and nurses to a community.