MICHIGAN CITY — Just over a year after the former St. Anthony Hospital on the north side closed its doors for good, plans have been announced to renovate and repurpose the site.
When the hospital on Homer Street was shuttered following the opening of the Franciscan Health Michigan City hospital on the south side, officials promised the city they would not leave an empty eyesore on the site.
And they’ve kept that promise.
The Franciscan Alliance Board of Directors has approved funding of about $20 million in projects to bring additional services to the former hospital, Franciscan Health Michigan City President and CEO Dean Mazzoni announced Friday.
The board approved the funding to completely repurpose Franciscan Health’s Homer Street campus, which was closed immediately after the opening of the new hospital at 3500 Franciscan Way on the south side in January 2019.
Funding will be used to tear down all but the 2001 patient tower, emergency department and parking garage, Mazzoni said.
The Franciscan Health ExpressCare location which opened last summer will continue to operate out of a portion of the previous emergency department.
The new funds will also go toward renovating all levels of the patient tower, Mazzoni said.
That will prepare it for the opening of a Franciscan PACE (Program for the All-inclusive Care of the Elderly) program on the ground floor; and to relocate Franciscan Health Michigan City’s 14-bed inpatient Behavioral Medicine Unit (BMU) from the fifth floor to the second floor of the patient tower, he said.
Mayor Duane Parry was glad to hear the news, saying he was “excited to see progress at the former site of St. Anthony’s hospital.”
Parry said as he presented during his campaign, he has also “had conversations with president and CEO Dean Mazzoni in reference to a portion of this building being used for a Veteran’s Clinic or Veteran’s housing.”
Katie Eaton, president of the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the news.
“Franciscan Health is a wonderful community partner and we are thrilled with their announcement to invest in the Homer Street campus here in Michigan City,” she said.
“The elderly care programming that will be added to the existing ExpressCare facility will be very beneficial to the community.
“Adding new healthcare services not only helps create new jobs but assists in retaining business and industry in the area which the Chamber views as a priority.”
Mazzoni said discussions are also under way with other community partners to offer programs and services at the renovated Homer Street campus.
The goal, he said, is to “advance Franciscan Health’s mission and address priorities identified by its recent community health needs assessment (CHNA).”
While no date for construction was announced, Mazzoni said the project will get going soon.
“Programming, planning and design on the Homer Street project will kick off soon,” he said.
“When we are finished, the new and improved Homer Street campus will be thriving once again with existing and new programs and services to meet the needs of the communities we serve for many years to come.”