Maybe we should call this one Throwdown Thursday, because that’s what Belleville’s city, school and business leaders are doing about St. Elizabeth’s Hospital’s newest building plans. Things were much more congenial on May 29, 1954, when workmen were rushing to finish St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville.
The Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis first announced plans to expand on Feb. 24, 1947. The $1 million project would add 250 beds and was possible because building supplies were again available following World War II.
Work progressed and by 1954 the push was on to finish by the end of the year. The ambitious project had grown, and the cost reached $5 million to build what is now regarded as the main part of the hospital.
In reality, the Belleville hospital has quadrupled since 1954, including outpatient facilities and a heart institute.
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The hospital’s Belleville legacy began in 1875 when three German nuns began visiting people in their homes and maintained six beds in a former school. They built a real hospital in 1880 at 211 S. Third St. in Belleville where they remain today, or at least for now.
The Hospital Sisters Health System announced in June that they planned to build a new, $300 million hospital and move to O’Fallon. Belleville leaders vowed to fight the move, as have two other local hospitals, as St. Elizabeth’s seeks a certificate from Illinois stating there is a need for the O’Fallon hospital.