Center for Hospice Care Receives St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce Economic Impact Award

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CHC was recognized by the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce for its strategic vision and its sustainable capital investment in the St. Joseph County economy.

The new Center for Hospice Care Mishawaka Campus sits along the St. Joseph River near downtown Mishawaka

Center for Hospice Care (CHC), a non-profit, community-based hospice provider, received the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce's Economic Impact Award at the chamber's recent "Salute to Business." The Economic Impact Award recognizes a company's strategic vision and its sustainable capital investment in the St. Joseph County economy.

In accepting the award for CHC, Mike Wargo, VP/COO of the Hospice Foundation, noted that this is the first of two phases of campus construction. "Completion of the first phase enabled us to bring our administrative and bereavement services under one roof. Once we raise the money needed, construction of phase two will allow us to expand the space available for patient care staff as well as for those who need care on an in-patient basis."

For the past 10 years steady growth and an increase in the demand for compassionate hospice care led to growing pains for CHC. With the organization expending approximately $260,000 in leased space each year in St. Joseph County, it had become time for CHC to create a centralized campus that could accommodate its expanding needs.

Wishful thinking, cooperation from the City of Mishawaka and an architectural firm that helped stakeholders see the vision resulted in CHC constructing the first phase of its new campus along five acres of picturesque land nestled along the northern banks of the St. Joseph River between Cedar Street and Central Park in Mishawaka.

The new structure, inside and out, as well as its serene surroundings is visually stunning, providing a therapeutic link to nature. The setting was once nothing more than overgrown brush. In addition, of the four sites under consideration, the riverfront property was the most economical option.

In August 2013, CHC opened its doors to the community showcasing the new 24,000-square-foot building. CHC architects Jeff Helman and Brad Sechrist designed the two-story edifice to fit into the earthy surroundings with an exterior of stone, ribbed steel and wooden trusses.

The western portion of the main building is home to the Life Transition Center with its grief and bereavement programming, as well as the Hospice Foundation. The eastern section of the new building houses the administrative, billing, finance, human resources, information technology and marketing offices.

In addition to the main structure, two existing campus buildings are undergoing renovation: one as a guest home for interns, visiting physicians and family members; the other as a palliative care center where patients can go for consultation by one of CHC's three board-certified hospice and palliative medicine physicians.

The total investment for the entire project was $7.2 million with just over 29,000 square feet, including the new structure and existing buildings. Future campus development plans include construction of a new Hospice House and medical office building that will house clinical care staff.

The Economic Impact Award was sponsored by Specialized Staffing Solutions.

Center for Hospice Care is an independent, not-for-profit organization, improving the quality of living in Northern Indiana through hospice, home health, grief counseling and education. In 2013, the organization served 1,993 patients, a 7% increase from the prior year.

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Cyndy Searfoss
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