Galena hospital announces $34.5 million expansion project

GALENA, Ill. — The leaders of Galena’s hospital have unveiled a planned $34.5 million expansion to increase available services and create 26 new full-time jobs.

The project at Midwest Medical Center will add 42,546 square feet to the facility, bringing its total size to about 136,000 square feet. Additionally, about 35,000 square feet of existing space will be renovated.

The work will expand the hospital’s physical, occupational and speech therapy services, open a new multi-purpose gym and provide more space for the surgery department, family practice clinic, internal medicine, behavioral health, cardiac rehab department and infusion clinic.

President and CEO Tracy Bauer said the expansion also will include the opening of a new bistro that will serve beverages and sandwiches.

The project will be entirely funded by the hospital, which will use $9 million in general funds and pay for the remainder through a low-interest loan from U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The majority of the expansion will occur on the southwest portion of the building, which will house the new lower-level gym, therapy services, the cardiac rehab department, family medicine, internal medicine, specialty health, behavioral health and the infusion clinic.

A small expansion also will occur on the northern portion of the building to provide more space for the surgery department.

Construction is scheduled to begin in April and to take two years to complete. Bauer said services at the hospital will continue uninterrupted throughout the process.

As portions of the expansion are completed, Bauer said, the hospital will immediately begin hiring additional physical therapists, occupational therapists and support staff. In 2023, the hospital intends to hire 13 new staff and add another 13 hires over the following two years. The hospital currently has 260 employees.

Bauer said the expanded hospital, which will include a new entrance lobby and atrium, also will be more easily accessible and navigable for residents.

The expansion originally was conceived in 2019 as demand for services at Midwest Medical Center continued to increase and inflated wait times for services. However, plans for the project were put on hold with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, which diverted much of the hospital’s resources to treating those who tested positive for the virus.

With pandemic-related demands falling and the demand for therapy and other services once again rising, Bauer said now is the right time to expand the footprint of the hospital.

“We were converting break rooms and storage closets into treatment rooms,” Bauer said. “At that point, it was clear that we needed to start thinking about the future of this space.”

Barb Sloan, president of Midwest Medical Center Board of Directors, said much of the expansion will aim to address the high demand for therapy services.

“It’s a three-week wait for physical therapy,” Sloan said. “This will make sure everyone can get these services faster.”

Bauer said other services at the hospital, such as the surgical unit, also need more space to meet rising demand. In 2010, 21 surgeries were performed at the hospital. This year, the total is expected to top 330.

“If it wasn’t for the community, there wouldn’t be a need to expand,” Bauer said. “We are seeing the demand for these services, and we want to address them in a timely fashion.”

She said the general public also will benefit from the opening of an expanded fitness center at the hospital, which will feature a new walking track, workout equipment and two rooms for yoga, spin and other types of fitness classes.

Once completed, Sloan said, the expanded hospital will greatly benefit the overall health of Galena and the surrounding communities.

“It’s a great opportunity for everyone,” she said. “We’re very excited about what’s in store.”