JANESVILLE -- SSM Health Care of Wisconsin and Dean Health Systems broke ground on November 17 for the new St. Mary’s Janesville Hospital and Dean Clinic Janesville at the new site on Hwy. 11 just east of I-90.
The event on November 17 included an invocation from Franciscan Sisters of Mary Councilor Sr. Sandra Schwartz of St. Louis, Mo., remarks from various SSM Health Care and Dean Health System officials and local State Assembly Representative Mike Sheridan, and a groundbreaking ceremony using large ice drills to break the frozen ground.
Waiting for this event
The masters of ceremonies for the groundbreaking were Dean Riverview patients and St. Mary’s GoldenCare members Helen and Sherman Anderson, who said they have been waiting years for this event.
The Andersons said that 45 years ago they had traveled to Madison to lobby for another hospital in the Janesville area, to give them a choice for healthcare. But they were told that the city’s population wouldn’t support more hospital beds.
Since that time, the city has grown and a state panel no longer dictates how many hospitals a community can have.
Mary Starman-Harrison, regional president and CEO of SSM Health Care of Wisconsin, also said studies have shown that currently nearly 40 percent of the local residents leave the area for their healthcare.
"Why not provide it right here, close to home, and with doctors you know?" she said.
New campus opens in 2010
The new campus, which will include a 50-bed hospital and physician office complex, is expected to open in 2010.
Press releases have indicated that the $140 million community hospital campus is expected to provide approximately 344 jobs, as well as an additional 155 indirect jobs, and will have $164 million in economic impact annually to the community. The project will be completed without state or federal funding.
One of the priorities of the project is also to be a part of the community, partnering with existing programs, said Starman-Harrison.
"Our mission is through our exceptional health care services to reveal the living presence of God," she said. "And we see this as just one more way we can provide those exceptional health care services, revealing the living presence of God to the community of Janesville."
And the community is waiting for that presence, said the Andersons.
"We've waited so long for this," said Helen Anderson. "We welcome you with open arms."