Anyone who has lived in a small town knows the value of having a good local hospital. It's good for the health of the community, both medically and economically: the ability to receive quality care close to home is more cost-effective and results in better outcomes. Yet too many small towns are losing their hospitals, requiring residents to drive long distances to seek quality care. The same thing could have happened in Eldorado, Illinois where, for a number of years, their local hospital struggled to figure out how to make desperately needed improvements to facilities that hadn't been updated in nearly 40 years. Thanks to excellent leadership by the local board, an affiliation with Deaconess Illinois, and a low-interest USDA loan, Ferrell Hospital will not be another lost community hospital. And that made their recent beam raising ceremony a truly special event.
Ferrell's $34 million project is a carefully planned combination of renovation, new construction and demolition designed to provide the most optimal use of old and new. Only the oldest of buildings is being demolished while a portion of the existing facility is being renovated to house support services. All clinical services, including patient rooms, ER, lab, dining and kitchen facilities, will be located in a brand new, state-of-the-art building that has been strategically designed to allow for growth. And growth is exactly what Ferrell has been experiencing. Their partnership with Deaconess has resulted in the addition of so many physicians and specialists that they've had to lease space for some of them outside of the hospital.
Ferrell's September beam raising ceremony to commemorate the completion of the structural steel for the new building that will house clinical services was particularly special for two of its speakers, both of whom grew up in Eldorado. State Senator Dale Fowler has been instrumental in helping the hospital secure critical financing, while Dr. Nate Oldham, who left Eldorado to pursue his medical degree, returned to his hometown and is now the hospital's chief of staff.
It's a story with both a happy ending and a new beginning: a win/win for the community of Eldorado.