Highland's new hospital is right on schedule

News-DemocratApril 22, 2013 

A year since breaking ground, a new hospital under construction should be ready to open in Highland by this summer.

Work began on April 20, 2012, and hospital spokesman Randy Schorfheide said construction on the new $60-plus million St. Joseph's Hospital at North Poplar Street and Troxler Avenue is 90 percent completed. The hospital bought 60 acres in January 2011. An adjacent 12.4 acres were donated.

"We have not identified a date, but at the moment everything is still on schedule," Schorfheide said. "Over the course of the construction timeline, we've been fortunate to have had favorable weather and we're on schedule."

McCarthy Building Cos. of St. Louis is building the new 91,000-square-foot hospital is being built on 72.4 acres located near Highland High School, about a mile north of its current location. Korte & Luitjohan Contractors Inc. in Highland is part of a partnership with McCarthy Cos. on the project.

The new hospital will have 25 beds with all private rooms equipped with a state-of-the-art trauma center, advanced medical imaging and diagnostic equipment, digital communication between the new hospital and physicians and patients and electronic communication services providing patients with wellness updates.

The hospital's history in the community goes back about 135 years. Schorfheide said the current site at 1515 Main St. opened in 1950 was outdated.

"The current hospital facility is limited in its capabilities to house upgraded or state-of-the-art technology in regards to its physical structure," Schorfheide said. "The new hospital will provide state-of-the-art technologies."

Earlier this month, Highland-based Korte Co. announced that it has started construction on a $1.9 million medical office space at the new hospital. The 17,500-square-foot building will house physician offices, treatment rooms, exam rooms and triage rooms. The project, which will occupy 85 percent of the third floor and a portion of the first floor or the new hospital, is expected to be completed by August.

Schorfheide said no decision has been announced about the existing hospital. The Highland hospital is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System in Springfield. HSHS operates 13 local hospital systems in Illinois and Wisconsin, including in St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Belleville and St. Joseph's Hospital in Breese.

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 239-2526.

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