Local News

Morrison hospital celebrating $20.5 million expansion with open house

MORRISON – An idea that began as a doodle on a napkin 5 years ago and morphed into a $20.5 million Morrison Community Hospital expansion is culminating in an open house on Oct. 24.

After two years of sawing and hammering, digging and pouring, painting and polishing, the 80,000-square-foot expansion/renovation at MCH, 303 N. Jackson St., is complete. It includes a new helipad, a new Emergency Department featuring five additional bays on the north side of the building – one of which is a trauma bay – an ambulance canopy, and an additional operating room on the east of the hospital along Jackson Street.

There’s a new three-level facility on the south side with control room and maintenance equipment storage on the first floor, a conference room/board room and rehab department on the second floor and eight new medical surgical rooms on the top floor.

Existing offices were remodeled, and billing and medical record got new offices, as did many of the doctors. The old doctor offices now are waiting rooms.

The lab was moved to the front of the hospital to provide better patient access. The Radiology Department is larger, and a new entranceway was built, with a canopy drop-off area and exterior heating.

The rebirth of the nonprofit, city-owned hospital grew from modest beginnings.

More than five years ago, during a chat in the cafe, MCH Board Chairman Don Beswick drew a what-if expansion design on a napkin. Chats continued, and the plans were redrawn on cardboard, then transferred to graph paper. However, in October 2016, the hospital announced plans to build a $6 million ED expansion, and fundraising began in earnest.

At the same time, a feasibility study was conducted that determined, to everyone’s surprise, “you’re not aiming big enough,” Marketing Director Mick Welding said, adding that they needed a larger space for orthopedic surgeries.

The $6 million expansion became a $20.5 million expansion, which the community is invited to tour at the open house from noon to 6 p.m. that Sunday. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 12:45 p.m. with live music, meals and desserts.

More than 1,000 people are expected to attend, including state Reps. Tony McCombie of Savanna and Neal Anderson of Rock Island.

MCH also is hiring clinical and nonclinical workers as part of its expansion, with open positions posted online at www.morrisonhospital.com. Nursing applicants can find information on those positions by contacting Chief Nursing Officer Sherri Garcia at sgarcia@mchstaff.com or 815-772-5524.

A low-interest loan from the United States Department of Agriculture paid for the project.

Donations to help pay the loan can be made at morrisonhospital.com or sent to Morrison Community Hospital Foundation, 303 N. Jackson St., Morrison IL, 61270; call Marketing Director Mick Welding at 815-772-5510 for more information.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.