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St. Joe’s on the move

Mercy Health building 400,000-square-foot facility next to KSU Trumbull

Staff photo / Allie Vugrincic Here is the exterior of St. Joseph Warren Hospital on Eastland Avenue SE, Warren. Mercy Health-Youngstown, which operates the health care center, confirmed Wednesday plans to relocate St. Joe’s to Champion with a new 400,000-square-foot, 241-bed hospital adjacent to Kent State University at Trumbull. The existing St. Joe’s will be torn down and made into green space.

CHAMPION — Mercy Health-Youngstown will relocate its St. Joseph Warren Hospital next to Kent State University at Trumbull and demolish the health care facility on Eastland Avenue SE, transforming it into green space.

The announcement Wednesday cements plans to build a new hospital on 62.8 acres adjacent to the college that Mercy announced in October 2020 to better serve the growing health care needs in the region.

The new 400,000-square-foot facility — the first new hospital built in the Mahoning Valley since Mercy constructed St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital in 2007 — is planned to have 241 beds and will provide full inpatient and outpatient services, plus have room to grow.

Also planned is a medical office building adjacent to the hospital that will offer specialist care.

On Eastland Avenue SE, the facility will be torn down, but Mercy will continue to maintain the campus and offer outpatient services at the Medical Office Building adjacent to the hospital. The rest of the site will be turned into green space “for the benefit of the surrounding neighborhood and greater community,” Mercy said in a statement.

“Given St. Joseph Warren’s current landlocked location and Trumbull County’s growing health care demands, our leadership team identified an opportunity to better serve the community and expand St. Joseph Warren Hospital,” Dr. John Luellen, president, Mercy Health-Lorain and Youngstown, said. “This investment in a new hospital campus will not only enable us to provide a better inpatient experience, but it also aligns with our mission to promote the health and well-being of our communities.”

Mercy has not acquired the land yet, according to the Trumbull County Auditor’s Office, which showed Wednesday the property still belongs to Kent State University.

But some steps have been taken to enable the transaction.

University trustees around September 2020 approved the sale. Then in December 2021, Ohio lawmakers approved land conveyance legislation, inserted into a bill by state Rep. Michael O’Brien, D-Warren, so when the time comes, the governor is authorized to execute the deed transferring the state’s right, title and interest in the land.

Mercy Health expects to break ground on the facility in early 2023, with an anticipated opening in late 2025.

“As a health care ministry, we are called to bring good help to those in need. Building a new campus for St. Joseph Warren Hospital will enable Mercy Health to do just that by continuing to provide high-quality, compassionate care to the people of the Mahoning Valley,” Char Wray, president of St. Joseph Warren Hospital, said.

The project architects are GBBN and Strollo. Thorson Baker and Associates and Heapy are leading engineering. Shook Construction and Turner Construction Company are the construction firms.

Warren plans to provide wastewater treatment service to the new facility.

Ed Haller, director of the city’s Water Pollution Control Department, said Warren and Mercy are working out the details of an agreement, but Warren still plans to accept and treat the wastewater from the hospital.

ENTERPRISE PARK

Joe Bell, spokesman for the Cafaro Company, which is developing Enterprise Park north of the company’s Eastwood Mall Complex, could not say definitively Wednesday if talks between Cafaro Company and Mercy to have a Mercy presence at the proposed medical, education and residential campus have broken off.

Mercy Health at one point had expressed interest in locating there.

Bell, however, did say Cafaro Company has been going in a different direction with another health care provider. He didn’t say the provider’s name because of confidentiality reasons, but said the company has a presence in the region.

“We have moved away from discussions with Mercy Health, and we have been having some very detailed discussions with another entity,” Bell said.

“Enterprise Park is a project that we think is important and we think that it should come to fruition,” Bell said. “We have never put a deadline on it, but we would like to start moving in the right direction fairly soon. We had various regulatory hurdles, and we are working to resolve any of the differences that were hashed out in court. We believe, ultimately, this is a project that is going to see the light of day and is going to benefit Trumbull County.”

OTHER MERCY DEVELOPMENTS

In addition to the new St. Joe’s campus, Mercy Health has partnered with Brentwood, Tenn.-based Kindred Rehabilitation Services in a joint venture to build a new, 60-bed inpatient acute rehabilitation hospital somewhere in the Valley.

A location, and the investment planned for the facility, hasn’t been announced, but it’s being called Mercy Health Rehabilitation Hospital.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2023 with an expected opening in fall 2024.

Also, Mercy is renovating the former VA clinic on Belmont Avenue on Youngstown’s North Side into the Mercy Health Belmont Medical Center to house a family medicine residency program, new addiction residency program, an obstetrics and gynecology clinic and a Centering Pregnancy Program.

The family medicine residency program, the women’s clinic and pregnancy program are moving from the St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital campus to the 25,000-square-foot building. The addiction medicine fellowship program will launch from the space.

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