Morrison Hospital

The Morrison Community Hospital expansion will consist of 8,200 square feet over three floors.

RACHAEL KEATING/CLINTON HERALD

MORRISON, Ill. — When the Emergency Department at Morrison Community Hospital was built in 1943, the facility served 43,000 residents. As of 2017, that number has increased to 72,000.

According to Mick Welding, the hospital's marketing director, patient care and technology have stayed up to date, but the emergency facility needs upgrades in order to accommodate more patients and improve privacy.

Welding says that late 2016 is when planning and discussion about an expanded emergency department began. An outside company was hired to survey about 50 members of the community. These discussions revealed overwhelming support for expansion and upgrades to the emergency department. Fundraising is in the early stages, and a more formal pledge process will begin in the fall. Welding says the hospital has already received a $50,000 donation from a local company for the project.

"Our timeline is that we are planning to break ground in May 2018," Welding said.

The expansion will consist of 8,200 square feet over three floors. The new facility will house the emergency department and allow radiology and laboratory departments to grow as well.

"Lab services will be moved from the center of the hospital to the front," Welding said. "Testing and labs will be one of the first things patients see when they enter the hospital."

The emergency department's new space will include five private rooms with sliding doors. This will offer patients private spaces to be treated. A trauma room will be added to treat more serious injuries. There will be a larger waiting area, with increased privacy, for family and friends. The ambulance bay will be covered by a canopy so that patients are not affected by weather. It will also feature a decontamination area to be used in the event of an industrial accident or disaster.

As part of this project, a new community center will be constructed. Welding says the hospital offers programs, such as teaching CPR to people in the community, and this facility will have increased space for such classes.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be $7 million. Welding says a low-interest loan from the Department of Agriculture will pay for $5 million of the cost and will not add to the hospital's annual expenses. The Morrison Community Hospital Foundation is hoping to raise the remaining $2 million from people in the area.

Welding said visual plans for the expansion project will be released for community members to view in the coming months.

As part of the fundraising effort, The Morrison Community Hospital Foundation is hosting a gala at Vista Grande in Clinton on Nov. 18. The theme is "Prom 80s Style-Up All Night!" The event will feature live music, food, a dessert auction and a live auction featuring Christmas trees, resort vacations and many other items. Individual dinner and dance tickets are available for $45. A table for eight costs $320. Tickets can be purchased in the Morrison Hospital lobby or by contacting Welding at (815) 772-5510 or mwelding@mchstaff.com.