Metro-East News

St. Elizabeth’s Hospital to open this fall in O’Fallon

Work on the exterior of the new St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is nearing completion. The new $253 million replacement hospital currently under construction in O’Fallon IL will open on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017.
Work on the exterior of the new St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is nearing completion. The new $253 million replacement hospital currently under construction in O’Fallon IL will open on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. dholtmann@bnd.com

St. Elizabeth’s Hospital’s new $253 million replacement hospital currently under construction in O’Fallon will open Nov. 4, hospital officials announced.

“We are excited to have a date planned for the opening of our new facility. Our patient move day will be the culmination of years of discernment, planning, construction and coordination,” hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Peg Sebastian said in a released statement. “We will achieve our goal of creating a healing environment that combines technology and efficiencies to provide region leading, high quality health care.”

The hospital, which broke ground on the project in June 2015, expects to receive the “keys” to the new facility, located on 120 acres off of Interstate 64 and Green Mount Road on Aug. 10.

The public can follow the progress of construction via a time-lapse video of the site by visiting www.steliz.org.

Hospital officials and staff members are diligently working behind the scenes to ensure a smooth transition between the closing of the hospital in downtown Belleville and the opening of the new facility in O’Fallon. St. Elizabeth’s is owned and operated by the Hospital Sisters Health System.

O’Fallon Mayor Gary Graham said, “We have been waiting for three and half years. We couldn’t be more excited.”

Opening day for the replacement hospital will be a “great day for the region,” Graham said. “It’s not about the location. It’s about better health care for the metro-east.”

The new hospital will have 144 beds; the current hospital has 303 beds.

It’s not about the location. It’s about better health care for the metro-east.

O’Fallon Mayor Gary Graham

A lot of thought went into the layout of the new hospital. When visitors walk into the main entrance, they can take a stroll down main street — a large main hallway, which allows visitors to easily navigate the hospital.

A physician office building, which is attached to the new hospital, is also currently under construction. It will open to patients at the same time as the new hospital.

400 workers on site at new hospital under construction in O’Fallon

$253 million cost of the new hospital

344,000 square feet

In April of last year, Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert and Sebastian began discussing the Belleville site and what will remain when the hospital relocates to O’Fallon.

Eckert said they have continued meeting regularly over the past year.

“She (Sebastian) and I have had some pretty good dialogue,” Eckert said Thursday afternoon.

He said he’s appreciated having more open communication between the city and hospital officials. “I have been more at ease talking to Peggy Sebastian,” he said. “I feel like she is keeping us in the loop.”

Sebastian took over as CEO in January 2016. Prior to her arrival, the city of Belleville and St. Elizabeth’s had a contentious relationship, in part due to the city filing a lawsuit against the hospital seeking to halt construction of the replacement hospital and overturn the state board’s decision allowing the move. However, that lawsuit was dismissed last January.

We are still sad they are leaving. We are going to make the best out of the situation we can.

Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert

Eckert said he continues to express his concern regarding what health care services will remain at the Belleville site. “I still remain very concerned that the hospital is leaving,” he said. “I continue to express to her (Sebastian) the redevelopment of that site and the need to establish and maintain a decent amount of St. Elizabeth’s services remaining there.”

He would like to see some type of “an emergency room downtown” if possible, he said.

“We are still sad they are leaving,” Eckert said. “We are going to make the best out of the situation we can.”

A news release from the hospital states the following services have been confirmed at the Belleville campus: “a walk-in clinic, radiology and lab services, physical therapy plus primary and specialty care physician offices.”

The state health board’s approval of the project included a condition: St. Elizabeth’s is required to keep about 200 employees in Belleville for at least two years.

The hospital created a Belleville Health Campus Repurposing Task Force as a way to engage community members. Ward 5 aldermen Philip Silsby and Ed Dintelman are members of the task force. Neither aldermen could immediately be reached for comment.

Jamie Forsythe: 618-239-2562, @BND_JForsythe

At a glance

These public events will celebrate St. Elizabeth’s replacement hospital opening:

  • A “Bundles for Babies” Fun Fair is Sept. 9 for families with children or those who may be expecting to deliver in the fall
  • Open houses are Oct. 7 and Oct. 8 will include tours of the new facility
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