FRANKFORT, Ind. (WLFI) - Clinton County is getting a brand new hospital. IU Health Frankfort broke ground on the site Friday morning.
The planned site for the new hospital is just west of the current structure at 1300 South Jackson Street. The new hospital will be state-of-the-art. It will all be one story, helping make it more accessible to all patients. IU Health is investing $30 million into the new hospital, $5 million of that is coming from Clinton County.
The current hospital has been serving the people of Clinton County since the 1950's.
"This building has served us very well for the past 70 plus years," said Kelly Braverman, President of IU Health Frankfort.
And as the only hospital in Clinton County, leaders at the hospital and in the community say it's time for an upgrade.
"Everything that is in the current building is coming with us to the new building and on top of that we've also been able to recruit an ortho-surgeon," said Braverman. She said they have gotten feedback from both patients and staff.
"When I first became a nurse, I wanted to work in my community," said Frankfort native and Surgery Manager at IU Health Frankfort, Leslie Smith. "To be able to take care of my community members provides a sense of comfort to them and to me."
Clinton County Commissioner Joshua Uitts said getting this project off the ground has been a true collaboration between the City of Frankfort, Clinton County, and IU Health.
"This is a culmination of a year and a half, almost two year's worth of non-stop work to get this facility to the point where we are ready to turn over the dirt here today," he said.
He hopes new memories are made in this new hospital.
"I learned how to be an EMT here, my mother worked as a nurse here for 40 years, both my children were born here," he said. "Folks are going to have the same opportunity to have those memories."
Because once the new hospital is built, the original structure will come down. It will be torn down as soon as they are able to transfer equipment and patients over into the new hospital. Braverman said they hope to do this with respect.
"We want to make sure we are very thoughtful in saying goodbye to that building," she said.
While enhancing the beauty of the new area with green space, it will also provide a bigger parking area to accommodate patients. She also hopes the new space will also provide more opportunities for community events.
"We'll have more trees, hoping to have more walkways," she said. "If I could have my cake and eat it too, I would love to offer a farmers market on the weekends."
Her goal is to keep quality health care accessible to those in Frankfort, and in all of Clinton County.
"When I talk to people out in the community, what I often hear is they want to stay here, they don't want to have to travel for health care," she said. "Things that we offer here are allowing people to get their care in town, and that's what I'm most proud of."
With the addition of this new hospital, Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes sees a bright future for his city. He said that Frankfort is an underdog no more.
"I see more jobs coming here, I see a new subdivision with beautiful homes, I see more families coming to Frankfort," he said. "Frankfort is moving forward in a big way."
The new hospital is expected to be complete in the fall of 2020.
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