WTVO Stateline News: Nearby residents react to Mercyhealth’s $70M upgrade to Rockton Avenue hospital

Posted:  Updated: Mercyhealth has announced it will be spending $70 million to upgrade its Rockton Avenue campus.

Hospital officials say the campus receives over a million patient visits a year.

“To not be committed to Rockton Avenue would mean we’d be cutting off half of our one hospital, half of our one body and we can’t do that,” said MercyHealth President and CEO Javon Bea. “That’s why we’re putting so much money into the renovation.”

The Rockton Avenue campus is in Alderwoman Ann Thompson-Kelly’s 7th Ward, she says she’s happy to see a commitment in a community that has supported the hospital for decades.

“I commend them for maintaining the maintenance and level of services, good quality services, and a good quality hospital,” said Thompson-Kelly (D-7th Ward). “That’s very important.”

New renovations include water remediation work, a modernized surgical prep and recovery area, a makeover of its ICU and Medical/Surgical units, and a newer, modernized look to the majority of the hospitals’ private rooms, nurses stations, hallways and more.

In June 2018, the west side hospital flooded. To help prevent future problems, Mercy will also be putting in flood doors, a new retention pond and more green space to absorb rainfall.

Mercyhealth’s Indiana-based insurance company filed a lawsuit against the city in the aftermath of the flooding. The Federal Insurance Company wants the city to pay over $24.2 million in damages. The company accuses Rockford of not maintaining the storm drain and sewer system near the Rockton campus, which they say caused water to back up. The sides are due to meet in court again on December 5th.

“We’re going to do everything within our power to protect this hospital from getting any water intrusion in the future,” said Bea.

Jamal McGee lives across the hospital, he says improving the Rockton Avenue campus helps west side residents.

“I think if they’re going to fix it up, they’re going to remodel the rooms, the nurses stations, that’s amazing,” said McGee. “People like me, I like being in a nice hospital.”

The renovations are scheduled to begin immediately.

“It being right here, I think that’s wonderful,” said McGee. “For them to invest that much money for it to stay here, I think that’s beautiful.”

“There’s a lot of residents that I hear from that do believe they’re going to close,” said said Thompson-Kelly. “They don’t believe they were going to keep the commitment and I hope this will convince them that they are committed.”

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