Metro-East News

Memorial Hospital installing fiber optic cables from Belleville to Shiloh

Pointing to a beacon display, Oscar Hemmer, of ADB Companies, a St. Louis-based utility contracting business, operates a directional boring machine to drill underground while another worker, Jacob Hemmer, uses a locator beacon to direct him where the fiber optic lines are being pulled through the ground about 600 feet down the road along Lebanon Avenue to connect Memorial Hospital in Belleville to its satellite campus under construction in Shiloh.
Pointing to a beacon display, Oscar Hemmer, of ADB Companies, a St. Louis-based utility contracting business, operates a directional boring machine to drill underground while another worker, Jacob Hemmer, uses a locator beacon to direct him where the fiber optic lines are being pulled through the ground about 600 feet down the road along Lebanon Avenue to connect Memorial Hospital in Belleville to its satellite campus under construction in Shiloh. Robyn L. Kirsch

Driving down Lebanon Avenue to Cross Street through Shiloh, you won’t just see American Flags displayed for Memorial Day, but high visibility yellow and orange flags to mark the recent progress by Memorial Hospital to connect its campus under construction in Shiloh to the main campus hub in Belleville.

Memorial Hospital East Administrator Ruth Holmes said the implementation of the fiber optics is not yet complete, but the first of two (phases) should be up and running by August.

“We have two dark fiber runs, if you will,” Holmes said. “One of them will come in on the north side of the building and another on the south side, so there is redundancy in the connection.”

The second run is anticipated to be in place and online by the fall, shortly after the first, according to Holmes.

“We are excited to say we will be connected with our main campus by late summer,” she said. “It’ll make our transition smoother.”

This project of connecting the two hospitals together through underground networking will help Memorial Hospital to have certain operations coming from the main campus, Holmes explained.

“There are certainly some things that will stand alone,” she said. “But many things as far as patient information will be available at both sites.”

The ease of access for the providers at both sites will be ideal in certain situations, according to Holmes.

“If you think about our EMR (emergency medical response), we are connected from the main campus so we can get information in the event a patient is admitted at one, for example at the main campus at a certain time, and then at the East location in a separate admission, we are then able to get their medical records and have total portability of their information,” Holmes said.

The patient portability and access of records through computer systems, she said, is “probably the biggest thing for us with this part of the East location’s infrastructure.”

Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier said the little flags littered along Lebanon Avenue are definitely a good omen for Shiloh’s continued future growth.

“I know a lot of people in town are questioning what’s going on, and there’s a lot of flags around town right now for the installation of the conduit for the fiber optics related to the new hospital,” Vernier said. “They’re probably getting close to about 50 percent complete with that part of their project, as well as just putting the piping under the ground.”

Any possible traffic issues that may incur as a result, Vernier assured, will be minimal at this point.

On another front, Holmes said construction of the new auxiliary hospital in Shiloh is “almost 70 percent complete.”

Memorial Hospital East will be a 94-bed full service hospital with private patient suites, intensive care unit, cardiac catheterization labs, surgical suites, a birthing center and a round the clock emergency department.

“We have been busy, busy working on the transition planning,” Holmes said. “Just making sure that when we are given the keys in December, we are ready to go and that the move-in can happen very quickly and efficiently.

“That 90 days until our opening will go by fast,” she added.

The project has been in the works since 2008, when Memorial Group Inc. and Metro-East Services Inc acquired the 94 acres of land at Frank Scott Parkway and Cross Street in Shiloh.

On June 28, 2011, the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board granted the hospital’s certificate of need and construction began January 2014.

Holmes said the hospital is still on target for first patient admittance in April 2016.

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