Completion of $23.1 facility expected in November 2024
Kevin R. Jenkins
Parkland Health Center officially broke ground Monday afternoon for the construction of a more-than-30,000-square-foot Medical Office Building that will occupy a portion of the hospital’s recently acquired seven-acre property adjacent to the hospital. The new building will house the hospital’s primary care services.
About 150 people attending the afternoon groundbreaking ceremony were asked to gather around two large pieces of construction equipment as PHC President Annette Schnabel welcomed the crowd and provided a brief history of the hospital.
“I’d like to thank you all for coming today and joining us in our excitement for our new medical office building during this groundbreaking today,” she said. “PHC has a long history of caring for our community. It starts as far back as 1911 when the St. Joe Lead Mining Company created the Bonne Terre Hospital. In 1938, the first medical arts clinic was opened, and then, around 1968, Byron Harrington sold to our founder, Dr. Oliver, 18 acres at this site. We appreciate his thoughts about the needs for our community and how we are going to be able to serve. So, we very much appreciate him being a part of our history.
“Over time, the locations and types and numbers of providers serving our community have evolved. Today, we have three medical clinics that are associated with Parkland. In the tall building in front of us, we have our Medical Office Building and our Medical Arts Clinic. At Bonne Terre, we have our Medical Arts Clinic North, and then we have our convenient care. So, we have multiple locations, and this is going to add another location to the services that we’re able to provide to the community. All this is about increasing access to health care in our community, and this all takes providers to make it happen.”
Schnabel said the hospital has been trying to bring more providers to the community, but it had run out of space. Once construction of the new Medical Office Building is completed, however, additional space will be available for the hospital to experience further growth.
“So much effort and collaboration went into planning for this, as well as for today,” she said. “The team who made the plan for this actually started conversations back in 2017. It’s been a little while, however. About three-and-a-half years ago, our thoughts and our focus took on a different aspect in health care as we entered our pandemic — which really made us think differently, made us focus differently — because we were in a pandemic of some depth that we had never experienced before.
“Ideas like a new medical office building kind of got put on the back burner. Now we’re back to being able to think forward, and we brought team members together to do that. The committees have had representation from here at Parkland and our Medical Arts Clinic. We had representation from our BJC Strategic Planning, and we had planning and design. Our finance colleagues, obviously, had to help us figure out how we’re going to handle this. We appreciate all the work that you did. We know that there were many hours that went into the planning for this.”
Next, Schnabel recognized the PHC Foundation Board for their assistance in reviewing the strategic campus plan.
“Obviously, they are here to represent our community,” she said. “They helped to support us to make sure we’re doing the right thing. So, we got to go with our board and show them what we were looking at doing, and that’s when really the other work began — figuring out how to actually make this happen. So additional team members came into the planning of our Medical Office Building, and this team identified the specifics and then decided what actual services would go in the building. We appreciate the extra work that they did.”
Schnabel noted that in the middle of planning for the new Medical Office Building, more of the Harrington family property became available for purchase.
“We were able to purchase the rest of this beautiful land that you see here,” she said. “And because of that, we’re going to have this opportunity to expand our campus even more. Once we acquired the property, we wanted to make sure we could create that appropriate space. You all remember the barn. Everybody hears about the barn. We had a local photographer, historian, and doctor approach us and say, ‘Can I take pictures of this?’ It was exciting that, as we cleaned up the space, he documented it all and provided us great pictures that we will be able to use as we build our new building to help to remember what our property came to us from. We thank Dr. Ryan Johnston for that.
“While that barn is gone, we still have the opportunity to do more with that space. One of the things we have a desire to do is to actually create a little bit of a serene area, a walking path, other expansion and stuff. So, that’s another future plan that we’re thinking about and we’re planning for. With the support of some other of our community members, we hope to accomplish that and hopefully get a few Eagle Scouts out of it. So, we want to be able to partner with our community with that.”
Introducing the two people standing next to her, Schnabel said, “While we’re here today excited about this new construction, really what we’re here about is the new healthcare that we’re going to be able to bring to the community. Dr. Scott Kirkley is our chief medical officer and one of our lead physicians with the medical group, and Kim Robinson is our regional administrator.”
Asked what the hospital will be able to provide the community once the new building is completed, Dr. Kirkley said, “I’m ecstatic always to represent the providers, the doctors, the APPs (Advanced Practice Providers), and the Medical Arts Clinic. The new building will allow us to expand our services to provide more primary care to the community. It’ll have more services in it like radiology, pharmacy and laboratory to help support our patients’ needs. It’ll allow us the space to be able to recruit and bring more talented providers to this area to help support the primary care needs of these communities.”
Schnabel asked, “But what does that mean about our original building?”
Kirkley replied, “It means that when you get all the primary care out of there, you can now expand so that you can have more specialty care in the community as well. At this point, the clinic has had its difficulties being able to actively recruit because we just don’t have places to put people. So, this will allow us to grow both in our primary care and our specialty care and allow us to bring more expertise to this area.”
Moving to the final portion of the ceremony, Schnabel said, “We, as PHC, are very fortunate to be part of BJC Healthcare. BJC Healthcare is an extraordinary organization, and it really helps us to improve the quality of care and services we can provide to our community. With us today is Joan Magruder, our group president.
“BJC is celebrating 30 years coming together as a health system,” Magruder said. “And as many of you know, when you come together as a complex health system — bringing 14 different hospitals together — it’s pretty tricky to come together in a cohesive manner. I’m proud to say that we think this partnership has been fantastic, specifically with the Parkland community and PHC. And when we came together, as you may recall, we intentionally embraced the diversity of history, the diversity of culture, religious affiliations, et cetera.
“We really came together as one, but continue to embrace the wonderful history, the legacy, the culture that really is so defining. Bringing us together, making sure that we’re held accountable for making the investments that you all deserve, having comprehensive and timely high-quality provider services and tremendous leaders who want nothing other than to continue to grow, grow, grow, grow, grow. So please know you have a wonderful team here.”
The ceremony concluded with Schnabel, Magruder, Kirkley, Robinson and PHC Foundation Board Chairman Debbie Peterson performing the official groundbreaking for the construction of PHC’s $23.1 million facility, which has an expected completion date of November 2024.