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Beacon embarks on patient-centered project that will redefine care at Memorial Hospital

Renewing its commitment to serve the City of South Bend and surrounding communities for generations to come, Memorial Hospital of South Bend is launching one of the most transformative construction projects in its 129-year history.

The new 10-story patient bed tower project will comprise seven new patient care floors, a renovation and expansion of the Intensive Care Unit and the redesign and renovation of other areas and departments across the downtown hospital campus.

More than 50 patient beds will be added and an estimated 500 new jobs created when the project is completed in March 2026.

The estimated $232 million investment will not only transform and reshape how Memorial Hospital provides patient care, but also redefine the skyline in downtown South Bend.

“This is a transformational, once-in-a-generation project that will serve the growing health care needs of patients in our region for decades to come,” said Larry Tracy, President, Memorial Hospital. “Understanding how we play a critical role in serving the health needs of our community, we have spent thousands of hours examining how we will provide clinical care and improve our patient, family and staff experience in this facility.”

Beacon Health System initiated a master facility plan process in June 2019 to evaluate its inpatient bed tower. The result is a plan that will redefine, and in some cases expand the space and facilities Memorial Hospital has available for adult critical care, adult acute care, emergency and trauma care, ICU, diagnostic imaging and outpatient surgery.

Hundreds of associates have been working alongside hospital leaders, imagining and designing the patient-centered tower that is designed to improve the patient, provider and family experience. The project will transform or touch almost every part of the hospital. Patient rooms will be larger, quieter and will have their own temperature controls, and they will be equipped with telemetry, remote monitored alarms and mobility lifts. Every room will also feature new dedicated family and visitor spaces.

The patient tower’s expanded capacity and technologically advanced features will help meet the growing health care needs of our community and allow patients to remain close to home for high acuity care. Memorial Hospital offers the only Level II Trauma center within 90 miles, the only Children’s Hospital and Pediatric ICU in the region and the only air-medical transport in the region.

The pandemic has provided Beacon Health System with new learnings that have helped us shape tower space design. Beyond the patient room improvements, the tower will feature improved ventilation, floors with negative pressure rooms, new way-finding for ease of access for patients and families and more natural light and outdoor spaces for patients, visitors and staff. A new central elevator bank will provide access to nearly all levels of the hospital from the main lobby.

Including construction, increased economic activity and projected local employment gains, the project will have a more than $400 million economic impact on the community, according to an analysis conducted by the South Bend Regional Chamber.

“This facility will complement our caregivers and help them do their best work. We gathered information and input from our associates, physicians and patients to learn what works well and what needs to change,” Tracy said. “This is much more than bricks and mortar. This is about transforming lives.”

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To help us announce the Memorial Hospital patient bed tower project, we have created community.beaconhealthsystem.org.  Here we will share the milestones, stories about our teams and frequent updates for this project and others that are underway across our communities, as we continue to carry out our Beacon Health System mission to deliver outstanding care, inspire health and connect with heart.

About Heidi Prescott

Passionate about writing her whole life, Heidi Prescott joined Beacon Health System in 2015 and currently serves as Director of Communications. A former newspaper journalist who has experience in TV, radio, magazines and social media, Heidi loves storytelling, photography and spending time in nature.