United Samaritans plans visitors area beyond the usual

United Samaritans plans visitors area beyond the usual

DANVILLE — Presence United Samaritans Medical Center is starting construction on a new patient visitor area that hospital officials say will go beyond the traditional waiting room.

The hospital is building a $160,000 "family retreat area" — intended to be a centrally located and comfortable sanctuary for visitors — on the third floor next to the birthing center.

Set to be completed in September, it will feature an "e-scape" changing nature scene on a digital display, and have a kitchenette, flat screen TV, charging stations for electronic devices and an interactive lighted digital wall available for children to "draw" on with their hands, according to hospital spokeswoman Gretchen Yordy.

The retreat area concept was developed in collaboration with local McDonald's franchise owners Don and Deanna Witzel and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

"In larger cities, Ronald McDonald Houses provide overnight and extended stay accommodations for families with critically ill children. But we wanted to figure out a way for our local fund-raising efforts to benefit our local community hospital," Deanna Witzel said in a written statement.

The hospital received $25,000 from Ronald McDonald House Charities and $10,000 from Iroquois Federal Foundation to help with the cost.

The hospital is also nearly finished with a project to update its curb appeal, Yordy said.

Included in that update is a new facade for the east and north sides of the north building, along with new energy-efficient windows; energy-efficient, translucent extended canopies for two entrances; automatic glass doors for the north entrance; and an aesthetic stone wall at the east entrance, she said.

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