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Work starts for Williams Eye Institute facility

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MERRILLVILLE — In what was once a cornfield, dirt was being moved Monday afternoon to signify the start of construction for the latest Williams Eye Institute location.

It seemed like an appropriate location because, as Dr. Doug Williams contemplated his new facility, he thought of a gift a friend gave him for his garden.

“It said, ‘To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow,’” Williams said. “But to build a building like this, I think we have to believe in the next generation.”

He said “the next generation” will play a prominent role at Williams Eye Institute and the construction of the practice’s new 18,000-square-foot facility in the AmeriPlex at the Crossroads business park.

“Our son Blake joined (our practice) two years ago,” Williams said. “Our daughter is going to join us in a year.”

Hasse Construction will build the new Williams Eye Institute location, and that represents another multigenerational business.

“Bill Hasse (the president of Hasse Construction) built our first surgery center in Hammond in 1991, and now his son Billy is with him,” Williams said.

Williams Eye Care hopes to start providing its cataract surgery, glaucoma care and other eye care services at the new facility in slightly more than a year.

“We couldn’t be happier to be part of the community and to continue our dedication to serving our patients and the community,” Williams said.

Bill Hasse said Marasco & Associates in Denver designed the facility, and the one-story building can be expanded another 10,000 square feet if the practice continues to grow.

“So it will look a little unique to what we see with the local architecture,” Bill Hasse said. “It should look pretty cool to have that building out here.”

Town Councilman Shawn Pettit, D-6th, said the Williams Eye Institute project represents a $9.3 million investment in Merrillville.

“That’s the kind of investment we want to see,” Pettit said. “It’s an outstanding economic development project. We’re very excited. It’s a beautiful facility.”

Pettit said the AmeriPlex at the Crossroads business park started off with about 400 acres of available land, and there are about 25 acres remaining there.

“This is just another example of the fine quality this park is,” he said.

Council President Rick Bella, D-5th, said he’s excited about the success of AmeriPlex.

“It’s just remarkable the variety of businesses we’ve attracted here and the different size buildings,” he said.

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