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LaPorte Hospital broke ground on a new $125 million facility Thursday that hospital officials and community leaders say will keep health care strong in the community for years to come.

About 300 people attended the ceremony at the spot where the new hospital will be built, right next to the current one, at 1007 Lincoln Way.

“Today’s celebration is an opportunity to look forward, but also inspires us to take a look from where we came. There is a rich history of health care in the LaPorte community dating back to the 1800s when local physicians started the state’s first medical college here,” stated LaPorte Hospital CEO Ashley Dickinson.

“Today, we are reminded that our plans for the future are every bit as powerful as the health care legacy that precedes us, and we break ground with gratitude, determination and pride.”

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Expected to open in 2020, the 200,00-square-foot hospital was promised as part of LaPorte Hospital's sale from Indiana University Health to Community Health Systems, a for-profit hospital chain headquartered in Tennessee, in March 2016. The current hospital was constructed in 1982. The new facility, which will offer the same services as the current one and have space for future growth, is part of a $140 million investment from Community Health Systems.

Mark Kosior, president of the LaPorte Hospital board of trustees, expressed excitement about the future of medical care in the area.

“In the last 18 months, the hospital has recruited more than 20 health care providers; opened new urgent care, primary care, and pediatrics practices in Michigan City; opened a new wound care center in LaPorte; and is getting ready to open the Slicer Health Clinic for students in the LaPorte Community School Corp.,” he stated. “As a board member and physician, I can assure you we aren’t slowing down.”

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Health Reporter

Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.