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BLOOMINGTON — With the offering of prayers, hanging of crucifixes and blessing with holy water, OSF St. Joseph Medical Center dedicated two renovated areas on Wednesday that put the hospital one step closer to beginning construction of a hybrid operating room.

The Rev. Rogers Byambaasa, St. Joseph's chaplain, and permanent deacon Gayle Cyrulik, supervisor in chaplaincy services, led a blessing and dedication ceremony of a larger, relocated surgical family waiting area and administrative offices.

The moves and renovations mean work can begin on a replacement surgical recovery room that will be twice the size of the existing recovery room, said Ashley Neal, director of surgical services.

After the new recovery room opens in November, construction will begin in December on the hybrid OR that should open in July 2016, Neal said.

"These moves bring us closer to the realization of adding a hybrid OR, which will be a benefit to patients in the community," said OSF St. Joseph President Chad Boore, adding all the renovation projects combined will cost just under $12 million.

The area's first hybrid OR will integrate imaging into an operating room suite, rather than taking a patient to another room, Boore and Neal said. Diagnostic and surgical procedures in the same room should mean faster patient recovery and reduced cost, added Boore.

The hybrid OR will be for complex cardiovascular, neurology and general surgical cases. Most St. Joseph surgeries will continue to be performed in the five existing ORs.

The hybrid OR will be 1,218 square feet — double the size of existing operating rooms. The hybrid OR and the replacement recovery room will be in space that formerly housed admitting, the gift shop, switchboard and medical staff offices, all of which have moved to new locations.

The surgical family waiting area is across the hall, in the former hospital lobby, and is three times larger than the old waiting room, making it more comfortable for families and volunteers, Boore said.

"I love it," hospital volunteer Gary Boundy said of the new waiting area. "This area is very special to me. I can pray with family members, talk with them. It seems to help."

Boundy was among volunteers to be blessed during the ceremony, saying, "I'm so glad to be a little part of this."

The new administrative offices are behind the new waiting area in the former lab space.

"This pulls all the senior leadership into the same area, which should improve collaboration," Boore said.

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Health Reporter

Health reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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