New Chapter After 115 Years

New Chapter After 115 Years

The final few weeks of construction are underway on the Franciscan Health Michigan City Hospital project, a brand new, $242 million facility that kicked off in the spring of 2016. Located near the intersection of Interstate 94 and U.S. 421 on an 86-acre site, plans call for construction work to wrap up near the end of October and permanent occupancy to be transferred over to hospital officials by the end of the year, with patients starting in January.


In with the New

Once complete, the new hospital will have 130 inpatient beds. Franciscan’s former Michigan City Hospital, on Homer Street in the heart of the city, has served the area since 1904. It will not be shuttered as a result of the new building. Instead, Franciscan plans to repurpose as much of the hospital as possible into a mixed-use facility, which will include some outpatient services and additional offerings from future potential partners.

Once the new building is complete, the transition between the two hospitals will not be a simple task. Franciscan officials have enlisted the help of law enforcement, EMS, and ambulance firms to assist with the logistics. Currently, the plan is to move all of the patients from one hospital to the next in a single day on January 12th. Given there’s no way to completely determine the needs and conditions of the patients at this time, officials have to plan in advance for every possible situation.


Compassionate Construction

For the last two-and-a-half years, the men and women working on the new hospital have been described by contractors as a tight-knit family, even going as far as posting photos of their own children on worksite signage to remind each other to work safely every day. There are about 300 tradesmen on-site.

The building used over 3,000 tons of structural steel, most of which was domestic except for one unique large beam that came from Europe. 91,000 square feet of precast concrete walls from were brought in from Omaha, NE and over 13,000 cubic yards of concrete was used. The building also has 47,000 square feet of exterior glass.

Tonn and Blank, the project’s construction management firm, created full-sized mock ups of an OR, patient room, and exam room before construction began. These mockups allowed user groups to see a prototype and “test run” the functionality of the space. It allowed the entire team to identify any issues in the design or construction early on, saving time and money.

“Our construction team has done an incredible job on this landmark project. Anyone who regularly drives this corridor has witnessed the dramatic transformation from an open field to a state-of-the-art hospital,” said Jon Gilmore, President and CEO, Tonn and Blank Construction. “We are really proud to lead the team on a project which will leave a lasting impact on the community.”

Contractors also used Building Information Modeling (BIM) to create a 3D model of the entire building to give the architect, engineers, and subcontractors greater insight and efficiency. This allowed for greater coordination among project teams. As the design changed, the model was updated.

Tonn and Blank and Franciscan were very conscientious of the environmental impact the project would make. The parcel that was selected for construction is roughly 84 acres. Nearly half of the area is wetlands and more than half of that is the highest quality form.

In the end, the total impacted wetlands encompassed 3.3 acres. As part of the permitting process, nearly 11 acres of new wetlands were created offsite by converting existing farm land back to upland forested wetlands in an effort to recreate what existed prior to the area being settled. This wetland is required by condition of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to be preserved by conservation easement and will be monitored by a third-party land trust (in this case, Woodland Savanna Land Trust).


Possibly More to Come

Understandably, Michigan City officials are pleased with Franciscan’s investment, believing that it will lead to further developments in the surrounding properties and help draw professionals to the area.

“We look at the new hospital facility as a great example showcasing the progression of Michigan City overall, and as a strong economic development resource,” said Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer. “It’s a state-of-the-art hospital with the most modern and sophisticated equipment, which is expected to help attract young doctors and professionals to come into the area. This compliments all of the progression that Michigan City is making and will be an excellent addition to our community.”

Hospital officials said the decision to establish the new hospital at the corner of 94 and 421 was made based on the hospital’s long history with the city and the enhanced logistics the location offers.

Dean Mazzoni, Franciscan president and CEO, said, “For nearly 115 years, Franciscan Health has had a rich and longstanding history of providing great healthcare to the citizens of Michigan City, La Porte County, and northern Indiana. This new location greatly improves access and convenience to high-quality, compassionate healthcare for the entire region.”

As we move closer to the final months of the year and the conclusion of work on the new hospital, the project’s owners, builders, and local stakeholders will have a lot to celebrate. The new facility could very well usher in continued development to the area and serve the healthcare needs of Michigan City for another hundred years – much like its predecessor. There could be lots more to come.



Construction Partners for the new Franciscan Health Michigan City Hospital project:


  • All Air Solutions LLC
  • Arctic Engineering Co. Inc.
  • Area Erectors
  • Area Sheet Metal, Inc.
  • Art Mosaic & Tile Co.
  • Bartkowski Life Safety Corporation
  • Bofo Waterproofing Systems
  • Circle R Mechanical, Inc.
  • Communication Company, Inc.
  • Crown Corr Inc.
  • Danny’s Construction Company, Inc.
  • Delta III, Inc.
  • EMCOR Hyre Electric
  • Flooring Resources
  • Hess Caulking
  • HUFCOR, Inc.
  • Industrial Door of Northern Indiana, Inc.
  • Kleckner Interior Systems, Inc.
  • Korellis Roofing, Inc.
  • Kwiatkowski Masonry, Inc.
  • Lakeshore Landscaping, Inc.
  • M&O Insulation Company
  • Master Tile, Inc.
  • Metro Elevator Co., Inc.
  • Meyer Glass and Mirror
  • Otis Elevator Company
  • PPMI Firestop, Inc.
  • Precision Controls
  • Precision Wall Systems
  • Risch Construction, Inc.
  • Security Industries
  • Servpro of LaPorte County and Porter County
  • Shambaugh & Son, L.P.
  • Stans Painting & Decorating, Inc.
  • Swisslog Healthcare Solutions
  • Unistrut International Corporation
  • Upright Iron Works Inc.
  • Walsh & Kelly, Inc.
  • Wilkin Insulation Co.
  • Wilson Iron Works, Inc.
  • Won-Door Corporation
  • Woodruff & Sons, Inc.


  • Lazzaro Companies, Inc.
  • DECO Associates, Inc.
  • Sices Material Products, Inc.

Source: Tonn & Blank