A location that has provided healthcare to the community since 1904 began a new chapter on July 22 with the blessing and dedication of Franciscan Health Michigan City’s repurposed Homer Street campus.

Franciscan Health Michigan City Behavioral Health, a 14-bed unit, will relocate from the current hospital and open for operations later this summer. In the fall, Prenatal Assistance and Senior Health & Wellness (PACE) will begin operations.

Franciscan Health Michigan City President and CEO Dean Mazzoni said Thursday’s dedication represents the culmination of planning, discussions and work that began in 2016, when Franciscan Health, city leaders and the local neighborhood began plotting the future course for the campus at 301 W. Homer St.

“Through a board-approved $20 million investment, we will now have a revitalized campus that will offer much needed community programs and services,” Mazzoni said. “I would characterize our collective efforts simply as this: Promises made, promises kept – to the city, to our community and, most importantly, to our patients.”

Sister Jane Marie Klein, O.S.F., chairwoman of the board of Franciscan Alliance, said, “As I’ve been reflecting about what’s happening here today, I couldn’t help but think about Ecclesiastes, where it says there’s a time to build and a time to tear down. Well, we’re doing both, and we’re doing both for a very good reason. … We are looking at what the needs of the community are today and adapting what’s remaining of our facility to meet today’s needs as best we can.”

The Most Rev. Robert J. McClory, bishop of the Gary Diocese, conducted the blessing of the facility, noting, “It’s a sign of the commitment of Franciscan Health to the region and to meet the needs of all those, particularly those who obviously are most in need of the healing touch of Christ.”

The new Program for the All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) will provide a social gathering space for LaPorte and Porter county adults 55 and over and services to coordinate their care. A PACE program at Franciscan Health Dyer currently serves Lake County residents. The Prenatal Assistance Program will provide access to care and resources for expectant mothers who might not otherwise be able to receive such services. It will complement WIC, the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, which already leases space in the building. Physician offices and other services that extend the Franciscan Health mission and address community need will round out the offerings in the remodeled property.

The relocation of Franciscan Health Michigan City’s 14-bed inpatient behavioral unit, which Mazzoni called the only one of its kind in the area, will open space in the hospital for a medical surgical unit.

Mazzoni said he anticipates the project will bring 40 to 60 new jobs into the local economy. He also thanked Tonn and Blank Construction and all the skilled and talented building professionals “who worked without pause or hesitation through this pandemic to make this vision a reality today.”

The $20 million project includes demolition of older portions of the facility. Demolition is proceeding on schedule and is expected to be completed by December.