Area officials broke ground Tuesday on a 40,000-square-foot medical clinic and teaching facility to be built adjacent to Memorial Hospital of Carbondale.
The new facility, a partnership between Southern Illinois Healthcare and the SIU School of Medicine, will include the Family Medicine Clinic and residency program, currently housed in the hospital's professional building. The physician assistant program, currently situated on the SIU Carbondale campus, also will move to the new facility.
The $17 million project will create about 300 construction jobs, and work is expected to be completed within the next year. SIH is paying for construction and will lease the completed facility to the School of Medicine. Alberici, the construction manager, will use local subcontractors to complete the project.
Despite sweltering heat, a large crowd turned out at the construction site, located just north of the hospital's parking garage at the corner of University Avenue and Oak Street. Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry said the city is supporting the project with $1 million in infrastructure improvements.
"Southern Illinois Healthcare, as you know, is bringing state-of-the-art health care to southern Illinois," Henry said. "We are truly blessed to have this."
Rex Budde, president and CEO of Southern Illinois Healthcare, said leaders at both SIU and SIH are excited to put residency and physician assistant programs under the same roof.
"I see nothing but good things in the future," Budde said.
Jerry Kruse, dean of the SIU School of Medicine, said the new facility should lead to further collaboration and added medical services for people living in the Carbondale area.
"The SIU School of Medicine is a community-based medical school, and we are dependent on our community partnerships," Kruse said.
Also speaking at Tuesday's groundbreaking were Bart Millstead, chief operating officer for Southern Illinois Healthcare; Quincy Scott, professor and director of the SIU Family and Community Medicine Residency program in Carbondale; Janet Albers, professor and chair of the Family Community Medicine program in Springfield; and Don Diemer, associate professor and program director for the Physician Assistant Program.