Local health care providers continued to add to their facilities this year.
Monticello got its brand new replacement hospital. Carle launched its long-delayed campus expansion project. Provena Covenant Medical Center finished the first phase of its new birthing center, and its sister hospital, Provena United Samaritans Medical Center, renovated its cancer center.
And there was more. Read on for a look at some of the new medical facilities that were built or started over the past year:
Kirby Medical Center
It took four years worth of work and a fundraising campaign, but Monticello's brand new hospital opened in late September, replacing the 40-year-old John and Mary E. Kirby Hospital.
— The new hospital is a 71,000-square-foot facility off the Market Street exit of Interstate 72.
— It was built at a cost of $30 million.
— It's double the size of the old hospital.
— It still has a licensed inpatient bed count of 16.
— Offices for Kirby Medical Group and on-site radiology and lab services are in the new hospital building.
— The new medical campus includes a new Carle physician office building next door to the hospital.
How do patients and visitors like the new hospital so far? Hospital CEO Steve Tenhouse said comments have been very positive. People seem to like the privacy features, the soothing setting and overall design, he said.
"Part of the design we really focused on was not trying to create a clinical-feeling environment," he said. "We really wanted warm colors, soft seating, something that was going to put the patients at ease and not feeling like they're sitting in a hospital."
It could be partly the fact that it's new, or the fact that new services have been added, or even that this is a busy time of year for illness, Tenhouse said, but the new hospital is seeing a spike in patient volume.
A new pulmonary rehab program for people with breathing ailments is getting a lot of use, he said, and the hospital has had a number of specialists from Champaign-Urbana and Decatur who have expressed an interest in operating there.
"That was really why we needed to do this," he added. "We knew there was a need in the community for it, but we could not make it work in our old design."
Ten percent of the building cost is being raised through the capital campaign, Tenhouse said, and that will continue into next year.
Carle's new 13,500-square-foot physician office building next door to Kirby Medical Center was built for $4.2 million, and it just opened Dec. 19.
It has 23 exam rooms for Carle providers in Monticello and visiting specialists, two procedures rooms, plus growth space.
Monticello is one of Carle's larger patient regions, and its providers see about 20,000 patients a year there, Carle spokesman Sean Williams said.
Carle's largest project was the $220 million central Urbana campus expansion launched in May — a project that had been announced in 2008 but shelved for a time because of the downturn in the economy.
Being built is a nine-story, 390,000-square-foot patient care tower that will include the Carle Heart and Vascular Institute on the first and second floors and 136 private rooms for medical-surgical and intensive care patients. The new rooms are replacing rooms in older sections of the hospital.
Work on this project will continue into next year and beyond, with the projected opening set for June 2013.
— Scott Harding, vice president for facilities and support services, said $2 million was spent updating catheterization and electrophysiology labs.
— Harding said another project coming up next year: A $3 million, 8,000-square-foot observation suite, to be used to monitor the conditions of some patients coming to the emergency department before making the decision to admit them as inpatients.
This area will also be used as an expanded care area for patients who don't need emergency care but do need more than doctor's office services, he said.
Provena United Samaritans Medical Center
The Danville hospital spent $1 million on renovations to its regional cancer center to give it an updated look and add more privacy and comfort for patients, hospital officials said.
Completed in October, this project included a new central reception area, three new private bays for treatment and doctor consultation, three private dressing rooms, an additional restroom and a remodeling of existing restrooms, two new conference rooms and a more convenient lab draw room. The exterior also got a new look.
All the improvements were based on the needs expressed by patients, physicians and staff, according to Molly Nicholson, vice president of patient care and chief nursing executive at the hospital.
The hospital foundation, fundraising and individual and corporate gifts raised 75 percent of the cost of the project, and local donors also provided money for a new statue and bench in the healing garden outside the cancer center, hospital officials said.
Provena Covenant Medical Center
Today's expectant parents expect amenities when they deliver their babies in the hospital. And Covenant's old facilities weren't measuring up, hospital officials said.
Work on the new Blessed Beginnings Birthing Center got under way in 2010 and the first two phases of this four-phase project were completed this year.
This $5 million-plus renovation is bringing hardwood-like floors, spacious restrooms with floor-to-ceiling tiled showers, bathtubs, free wireless Internet access, flat-screen TVs and sleeper couches for family members or friends to spend the night.
The first phase included a new welcome center, six post-partum rooms and three delivery rooms, and the second phase brought two new operating rooms, a locker room, classroom and two more labor and delivery rooms.
The work will continue into next year, with regular and special care nurseries, eight more post-partum rooms and another labor/delivery/recovery room yet to be completed, hospital spokeswoman Crystal Senesac. Final completion is set for next spring.
"This project is extremely important to the hospital's ability to provide moms with compassionate care and the most up-to-date technology in the most comfortable setting possible," Mike Brown, the hospital's regional CEO, said in an emailed statement.
A $2.7 million remodeling of the lower level of the main clinic in downtown Champaign was done this past year.
This space, now the clinic's departments of dermatology and pulmonary medicine, was opened to patients in November.
The remodeling included 23 patient exam rooms and an updating of heating, cooling and electrical systems, clinic officials said.
The main clinic's fourth floor will be remodeled in the upcoming year as the new location for a larger oncology department.
That project, to cost about $1.6 million, is projected to be done in October 2012, according to Christie Clinic spokeswoman Michelle Benson.
Also under way at the main clinic: All the elevators are being replaced at a cost of $480,000. Benson said that job will be finished by next summer.
Frances Nelson Dental Clinic
A community fundraising effort helped open a new dental clinic at Frances Nelson Health Center, 819 Bloomington Road, C.
The opening in mid-October came two years after the United Way of Champaign County invited local medical providers, dentists, social service organizations and others to come together and address the dental needs of adults and children who can't afford dental care in the local community.
Frances Nelson Health Center is a primary-care health facility already serving needy adults and children and is being operated by the local nonprofit oral health organization SmileHealthy.
The new clinic is intended to serve 1,100 adults and 1,100 children each year.
Nancy Greenwalt, SmileHealthy's executive director, said the new clinic is "definitely filling a need."
New patient appointments are scheduled through February, but emergency appointments can be made sooner for people in pain, she said.