A groundbreaking ceremony for Lutheran Downtown Hospital took place Wednesday in the heart of the city. Representatives of Lutheran Health Network were joined by elected officials, community leaders and other VIPs to celebrate a milestone that will, by early 2022, result in a new hospital for downtown Fort Wayne.
Addressing a crowd of more than 250 guests, Lutheran Health Network Regional President and CEO Mark Medley highlighted the significance of this milestone for downtown Fort Wayne and LHN.
“Today is about the future of healthcare in Fort Wayne – a time to look forward as we deliver on our commitment to provide high-quality healthcare for every patient,” said Medley. “When this state-of-the-art medical facility opens, it will be a healing environment filled with modern medical technology, the best medicine and a healthcare team comprised of caring and compassionate people who are experts in what they do.”
Citing the positive economic impact construction of the approximately $120 million, 188,000-square-foot hospital will have, Medley was one of several speakers who touched upon the importance of this project to the long-term success of downtown revitalization and the overall health of the city.
“I continue to be encouraged by the positive momentum and investments we’re experiencing in Fort Wayne,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “Access to healthcare is critical to the current and future success of Fort Wayne, and Lutheran Health Network’s continued commitment to our community is valued and appreciated. Healthcare serves as an important component of economic development opportunities, job growth and quality of life amenities that help our city become a point of destination.”
The ceremony, which also served as an opportunity to honor St. Joseph Hospital’s century-and-a-half legacy to the community, included representatives from the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ; city and county government; the medical staff and board of St. Joseph Hospital; the West Central Neighborhood Association and Trinity English Lutheran Church.
“Our vision for the future – a modern hospital in the heart of the city where we can continue the tradition of caring and provide new healing experiences – is as compelling as the foundation on which it is being built,” said Jake Golich, chief executive officer, St. Joseph Hospital and Lutheran Downtown Hospital. “Today is a celebration of the bright future that lies ahead.”
Even before ceremonial shovels turned dirt to conclude the event, work to relocate the hospital’s MRI from its current location on the construction site to a temporary location next to St. Joe had already begun. The initial phase of construction will also include the demolition of the existing MRI building and the relocation of utilities.
Upon its anticipated completion in late 2021, the hospital’s main entrance will be on Van Buren Street facing east. The attached medical office building on campus, which was expanded and renovated in 2008, and the parking garage will continue to be utilized once Lutheran Downtown opens.