LAPORTE — LaPorte Hospital announced plans Thursday to build a new hospital downtown.
Hospital officials said the new, $125 million facility will be built at the site of the current hospital. Groundbreaking is planned for early next year with the grand opening set for 2020.
“LaPorte Hospital staff and physicians are deeply committed to having a thriving community hospital, and we are excited to announce this major step forward," hospital CEO Ashley Dickinson said. "The site selection process was comprehensive, and we are confident that 1007 Lincolnway is the ideal location for us to be able to continue to provide high quality, compassionate acute care to the communities we serve."
IU Health, the previous owner of the hospital, sold a majority stake in March 2016 to Community Health Systems, a for-profit hospital chain based in Tennessee that also owns Porter Healthcare System. The deal was contingent upon the new owner building the new facility.
However, LaPorte city and county officials later became concerned that might not happen after Community Health Systems started running into financial difficulties last year. City officials even began preparing an incentive package to keep the new LaPorte Hospital in the city. A hospital spokeswoman said it has not been determined whether the hospital will receive incentives for building at the selected site.
Dickinson stated the site was selected based on such factors as the suitability of the land, traffic patterns, ease of access, proximity to paramedic stations, central location, visibility and economic development.
The other details of the new facility are still being discussed, but the hospital is expected to include a medical office building and be five stories and about 200,000 square feet. The current LaPorte Hospital will remain in operation while the new one is being built. The community can check for updates on the project at newlaportehospital.com.
Community Health Systems also obtained Starke Hospital in Knox as part of last year's deal. A LaPorte Hospital spokeswoman said there are no plans for a new Starke Hospital at this time.