The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 1:00 am

Downtown hospital to open early

Will be ready for patients Nov. 13

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

Lutheran Downtown Hospital will begin treating patients Nov. 13, months before originally planned, officials will announce today.

The 60-bed hospital at Van Buren and West Main streets will welcome the community for tours Nov. 6.  

Construction on the 194,000-square-foot building began in July 2019. The final cost was $118 million for the five-story hospital.

Twilla Lee, the new hospital's CEO, said she's pleased with the timing.

“We are thankful to the many individuals who contributed to this undertaking. We would like to especially acknowledge the construction team who diligently worked on this project, including Weigand Construction,” she said in a statement.

Teri deMatas, Lutheran Health Network's vice president of marketing and community relations, explained what's behind the earlier opening.

“We were able to complete the project ahead of schedule due to advance planning and ordering ahead if there were anticipated material shortages,” she said through email. “Weigand used weekend and overtime contractors to keep the project moving.”

While leading a tour of the new hospital in July, Lee highlighted numerous features that reflect advances in health care.

“The whole design of the hospital is about efficiency, good flow,” Lee said at the time. “We also designed for flexibility and growth in the future.”

Opportunities for expansion are included in several areas of the hospital's design. If demand justifies more beds, a sixth floor with 40 more patient rooms could be added.

In a statement, Lee points to the ways the design makes hospital stays more comfortable for patients and their visitors.

“Our community is going to benefit from a hospital that is designed with the total patient experience in mind,” she said.

A multidisciplinary team is coordinating the move into the hospital, which is across Van Buren from the facility it will replace, St. Joseph Hospital, Lee said.

“Both hospitals will be operating simultaneously beginning at 6 a.m. on Nov. 13,” she said. “This will continue until the last patient is safely moved to their new location or discharged.”

Officials expect the move will be completed by noon or earlier that day.

In addition to patients, some items will be moved from St. Joe to the new hospital, including a CT Scanner and some newly purchased equipment such as beds, stretchers and biomedical equipment, deMatas said.

Most of Lutheran Downtown Hospital's equipment is new, however, including a CT Scanner and a MRI machine, she said.

St. Joe will be demolished and replaced by a parking lot, officials said. Work will begin early next year and be completed by the end of 2022, deMatas said.

Lutheran Downtown Hospital and St. Joe Hospital are part of Fort Wayne-based Lutheran Health Network. Community Health Systems Inc., which is based in Franklin, Tennessee, is Lutheran's parent company.

If you go

What: Lutheran Downtown Hospital open house

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 6

Where: Van Buren and West Main streets

Details: Tours are free and open to the public

For more information: Go online to

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