La Porte Hospital breaks ground for new facility
La PORTE – Golden shovels broke through brown dirt amid cheers on Thursday, officially kickstarting the beginning of the end for the current La Porte Hospital and the dawning of an entirely new and improved one.
“This has been a long awaited day and I can tell you it is worth it,” said La Porte and Starke Hospital CEO Ashley Dickinson.
The $125 million, 200,000-square-foot hospital will be erected within a parcel of hospital owned land north of State Street between Tyler and Teegarden streets. Washington Street between Tyler and Teegarden was recently vacated by the City of La Porte to make room for the hospital.
“In just two short years, a new hospital will grace the skyline of La Porte, adding what we expect to be a new work of art in our downtown landscape,” said La Porte Mayor Mark Krentz.
The decision to keep La Porte Hospital downtown was stated to be a “huge win for our city” by Krentz, as more than 30 locations wide and far within the county had been considered for the placement of the new hospital.
“Downtown La Porte was the right location for a hospital 45 years ago and is the right location for the hospital now,” Krentz said.
During peak construction, Krentz said more than 200 workers will be on site laboring to build the new hospital. That’s 200 individuals eating at local restaurants, shopping at local stores and supporting the local economy, Krentz said.
According to the hospital’s most recent community benefit report, in 2017 La Porte Hospital contributed more than $118 million in economic benefit to the community including $3 million in local taxes, $860,000 in charitable contributions and $92.4 million in economic impact to the local community.
The hospital even purchased basketballs and footballs for police officers to gift to children while they’re out patrolling neighborhoods.
“It is this kind of interaction that reminds all of us that a community hospital is more than bricks and mortar,” Krentz said.
Before shovels broke ground, Dickinson offered thanks to a variety of people who made the new hospital possible and contributed toward furthering healthcare in La Porte, starting with the medical staff.
“Today is about the new building, but the healthcare in our community is really about the calling that you all answer to serve our patients. You all provide hope, compassion and comfort and we value the work that you do every day,” she said.
She went on to thank La Porte Hospital colleagues; current and former La Porte board members; federal, state, county and city officials; current and former La Porte Hospital volunteers and auxiliary members; current staff and board members of The Health Care Foundation of La Porte; past members of La Porte Hospital Foundation and, finally, the construction, design teams and contractors.
Dickinson said the new hospital wouldn’t have been possible without Community Health Systems, who since acquiring the hospital has spent millions to enhance hospital facilities, invest in hospital technology and access points and recruit positions to the community.
Mark Kosior, president of the La Porte Hospital Board of Trustees, said in the last year and a half La Porte Hospital has recruited more than 20 healthcare providers, opened new urgent care practices, new primary practices, more pediatric practices, opened a new wound care center and will shortly open the Slicer Healthcare Clinic for La Porte Community School Corp.
“Today, as we celebrate and look forward to our new hospital, we also have cause to think about where we came from,” Dickinson said.
From a group of pioneering physicians starting La Porte Medical College in the 1840s to Holy Family Hospital to Fairview Hospital to the current La Porte Hospital built in the 1970s, Dickinson said one thing has remained the same: La Porte’s commitment to supporting a community based acute care hospital that is a leader in providing high quality, compassionate care.
“As we look to this rich history of healthcare in our community, we are reminded that our plans for the future are every bit as powerful as the legacy that proceeds us. We move forward with gratitude, determination and pride,” she said.