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     September 11, 2017      #50-253 a2z

OSF to stay put in same building in Streator

David Giuliani

Streator's outpatient center will stay in its current building on Spring Street, rather than move into a new building somewhere else in Streator.

Officials from OSF HealthCare announced Tuesday afternoon they plan to renovate the former St. Mary's building and use all six floors for the first time in a decade. Officials said the project may cost $12 to $13 million in construction and likely require state approval.

Peoria-based OSF took possession of the old hospital building Jan. 4, a few hours after its previous owner, Springfield-based HSHS, ended inpatient services there, effectively shutting down the hospital.

When the sale took place, OSF promised to continue providing outpatient and emergency room services, starting at the current building and then moving into a new one. The name was changed to OSF Center for Health-Streator.

In a news release, Streator Mayor Jimmie Lansford said a recent community survey and conversations with residents and groups indicated a "strong preference" to continue offering health-care services at the old St. Mary's building on Spring Street.

Some residents have worried what would happen to the old building, which both HSHS and OSF officials confirmed was structurally sound. City officials said they wanted to do what they could to avoid having the building torn down, a possibility OSF acknowledged.

The Cadillac in which Hank Williams was riding when he died is displayed at the museum.

Now only three of the hospital's floors are being used. But OSF officials indicated they plan to include social service agencies that would help with such things as housing, nutritional and weight management.

"Developing a campus where health-care services are co-located with other social services agencies makes sense," OSF chief executive Kevin Schoeplein said in a news release. "Our vision extends beyond traditional medical care to broadly impact the overall health and wellness of the Streator community."

OSF also plans to demolish the older building, known as the St. Francis portion, behind the main one. It was constructed in the late 1800s.

"That was originally scheduled to be demolished in 1964, when the new hospital was built," said Lansford, a former St. Mary's administrator.

— The Times will update this story with more details.

The country music legends Hank and Audrey Williams performed together in the early 20th century. Hank Williams is honored at the museum that bears his name in Montgomery, Alabama.
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