$30.5 million renovation plan announced for OSF Center for Health-Streator

The proposed exterior of the renovated OSF HealthCare Center for Health-Streator. (Provided photo)

STREATOR — Following months of research and community collaboration, plans were announced Oct. 18 for a $30.5 million renovation to the OSF HealthCare Center for Health-Streator.

The exterior and interior renovations for the former St. Mary’s Hospital building at 111 Spring St. will be “innovative” and “forthcoming to what is in the future plans for the community and health delivery across the country,” said Don Damron, vice president of Ambulatory Services for OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa.

The changes to the six-story facility include a new entrance and lobby featuring a “tech bar” to assist in training and use of technology such as OSF MyChart.

Innovative technology is a major component of a new rural health care model being developed in Streator. OSF HealthCare is using Patient Wisdom, an online survey platform for better understanding of what residents need to lead a healthier lifestyle. Area social service organizations and health care providers will be more closely linked through technology.

Other improvements are planned for OSF specialty clinics, rehabilitation, primary care and diagnostic imaging departments.

Initial steps in the renovation plan — including the demolition of St. Francis Hall, the vacant 1914 and 1925 wings of the former hospital building — have already begun. The work will continue in phases with completion scheduled for summer 2019.

Jimmie Lansford, mayor of Streator, recalled the community’s deep concern when Streator’s only hospital — long operated by the Springfield-based Hospital Sisters Health System — was closed in 2016. OSF HealthCare acknowledged those concerns when it assumed ownership of the facility and began its transition to an outpatient center known as OSF Center for Health-Streator.

The center, OSF officials said at the time, was a first step in implementing an innovative model of care “that has the potential to be among the finest in any rural community.”

“What they said they were going to do, they did,” said Lansford of OSF HealthCare’s latest announcement.

The renovation is part of an overall plan to promote health and wellness in the community. Prior to the Oct. 18 announcement, efforts in similar regions were studied; residents were surveyed about the status of their health needs; and collaborations with wellness-related organizations were established. The renovated facility will have community education and meeting rooms.

“We want an environment where people are coming there, not to come to the old hospital when I’m sick and injured, but to come there to be well, to stay well, to get information and to get screened,” said Ken Beutke, president of OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Medical Center. “Maybe it’s even to socialize, which is a big factor for some.”

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