Groundbreaking ceremony set for new patient tower at Memorial Hospital

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 6:17 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Groundbreaking ceremonies for a new ten-story patient tower at Memorial Hospital have been set for mid-October.

It’s a $232-million expansion project that is expected to create 500 new jobs.

Memorial is already South Bend’s largest employer with a payroll of about 2,700.

Even though Memorial Hospital has a 129-year history in South Bend, the city site was one of nine considered to host the health care tower of the future.

“Given the size and the magnitude of it, we did look at where was the right place to make that investment. It’s the largest investment in the history of Beacon Health System,” said Memorial president Larry Tracy. “If we were to build in a greenfield, so to speak, somewhere else, we would actually be creating a medical desert type of phenomenon in South Bend and that wasn’t the right thing to do.”

Officials are now doing a series of smaller projects to set the stage for the big one—like moving the pharmacy and the campus energy center.

There is even a mock-up of what one of the new patient rooms will look like. The new rooms will be about 50-percent larger than the old ones.

“It’s amazing, like if you go into an intensive care unit room there could be four, five machines that are around that patient, that back when it was originally built, it might have been two. And so that takes up a lot of real estate and leaves zero real estate in that footprint for their loved ones to be able to hold their hand, be by their side, that sort of thing,” Tracy explained.

Memorial’s current patient towers were built in 1958, and 1973 respectively.

Tracy today addressed members of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce during a networking luncheon.

While the hospital won’t be changing locations, it will be changing colors on a regular basis.

The new tower will be topped with LED lights designed to look like rain falling down the building. “Change it into one of a thousand colors so what message are we trying to support? Is it the colorectal cancer awareness month, well then, those lights might be blue. Is it breast cancer awareness month? Those lights might be pink.