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STREATOR — As representatives of OSF HealthCare turned spades of dirt on Tuesday, they turned a page on the delivery of health care in Streator.

OSF marked the beginning of exterior renovation of OSF HealthCare Center for Health-Streator with a prayer and blessing by Father Mike Driscoll and a ceremonial groundbreaking by representatives of OSF and P.J. Hoerr, the renovation project general contractor.

"It's very exciting to be at this point," Ken Beutke, president of Center for Health and OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa, said after the ceremony. Beutke noted that community input has been considered as renovation plans have developed.

"We are taking a different approach to rural health care," Beutke told The Pantagraph. "To see us activate those plans and deliver on our promise to provide sustainable health care is exciting for us and the community."

Peoria-based OSF is spending $30.5 million to renovate the 55-year-old former St. Mary's Hospital building and for new medical equipment.

Interior demolition work, in anticipation of renovation work, began several months ago. The entire project, including a new addition to the front of the building, should be complete by July 2019, Beutke said.

"Work is going really well," OSF Project Manager De Hardenburg said during a hard-hat tour of areas being renovated.

During construction, some services will temporarily relocate within the building, said Don Damron, vice president of ambulatory services. There may be short periods of interruption of services for diagnostic imaging, which will get more advanced technology, Damron said.

The center's chapel has been temporarily decommissioned until a new chapel is built, Beutke said. Commemorative bricks that were at the front of the building will be showcased at the renovated building's community education entrance, Damron said.

The renovation project will include remodeling of the:

  • First floor for a new lobby, community education space, technology bar, diagnostic imaging, lab, occupational health and chapel. The emergency center will remain.
  • Second floor for rehabilitation services and specialty clinics.
  • Fourth floor for primary care offices and tele-visit consultation with specialists.

The 1914 and 1925 wings of the former hospital building were demolished last fall and are being replaced with a parking lot, walking path, community garden and new entry for community education.

OSF took over the former St. Mary's Hospital building, 111 Spring St., after the Springfield-based Hospital Sisters Health System closed the hospital in January 2016 in a decision that devastated Streator, a city about an hour northeast of Bloomington-Normal.

Because OSF has Saint Elizabeth Medical Center just a few miles away, OSF did not open another hospital in Streator but instead opened Center for Health, an outpatient center whose services include a 24/7 emergency center.

"I'm really happy that OSF is investing in the community," said Jack Dzuris, executive director of the Streator Area Chamber of Commerce and an OSF HealthCare Foundation council member. "This will help us to be a healthier community."

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Health Reporter

Health reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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