Beacon Health System breaks ground on new patient tower

Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 6:18 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - It has been an anchor institution in South Bend for generations. Now Memorial Hospital is preparing to serve future generations.

Ceremonies on Tuesday marked the start of construction on a $232 million dollar patient tower.

South Bend’s mayor and hospital personnel donned hardhats, grabbed shovels, and moved a little dirt to mark the occasion.

Next construction crews will move what seems like Heaven and Earth to fit a 10-story patient tower on the old hospital loading dock.

“The smokestack does come down and the loading dock gets reconfigured,” Memorial Hospital President Larry Tracy told 16 News Now. “It is an L-shaped building that fits neatly into this and actually, part of it will go on top of our Heart and Vascular Building.”

When the Beacon Board of Directors was presented with the proposal, it went through three stages:

“The first was, a project of this complexity and size can’t be done,” said Beacon Board Chairman Thomas Burish, PhD. “The second was, a project of this complexity and size will cost too much. The third was, and I take full credit for this as chairman of the board, we knew all along it was a great idea.”

The project is about bigger hospital rooms, better technology, doubling the capacity of the critical care unit, and adding 53 more general medical beds.

“The future for us is about the highest level of care in this region,” said Tracy. “The ability to be able to provide the highest level of care so someone doesn’t have to leave and go to Indianapolis or go to Chicago. So, the ability to be able to provide that care here locally for the next generation, that’s what this project is all about.”

South Bend Mayor James Mueller told 16 News Now that it was exciting to see one of the city’s anchor institutions reinvesting in the heart of South Bend.

“You know, I was born in Memorial Hospital, and I also received lifesaving care here earlier this summer. So, this place literally means life for many folks in the community and I’m one of them.”

The mayor is also excited about plans to develop the area south of the Memorial campus where plans call for hundreds of workforce housing units, a health and lifestyle center, and possibly a hotel.