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Local

MORRISON $20.5 million hospital expansion underway

MORRISON – An idea that began as a doodle on a napkin at least 3 years ago finally is being realized.

Morrison Community Hospital staff and board members and government officials gathered on the hospital’s front lawn Thursday to celebrate breaking ground on MCH’s $20.5 million expansion.

When complete sometime in early 2021, there will be 80,000 square feet of either new or renovated space. Work likely will take about 19 months, but there’s a push to have the updated wing of the emergency room completed in a year12, MCH CEO Pam Pfister said.

“When we first started talking about this project, the ER was a first priority, and it still is, so we’ll start there,” Pfister said.

Planned are five additional emergency room bays, with one serving as a trauma bay, an ambulance canopy, and an additional operating room. The laboratory department will be moved to the front of the hospital to provide better patient access, among other changes.

They’ve come a long way in the 3 years since MCH Board Chairman Don Beswick drew a design for the expansion.

“We’ve come a long way since that paper napkin,” Pfister said.

The hospital serves an average of up to 1,000 patients a week, a number Pfister expects to grow as the services it offers increase.

The project is one of 30 across the nation, and the only project in Illinois, to get a loan from the United Stated Department of Agriculture to pay for the upfront costs of the expansion, she added.

Projects such as the hospital expansion is a testament to the type of people who make up Morrison’s community, Mayor Everett Pannier said.

“All the different things we’re doing, the businesses are doing, the hospital is doing, it’s just lifting Morrison up on the map,” Pannier said.

“Very few hospitals that are bigger offer more than they have here.”

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