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St. Ignace hospital to expand footprint

Mackinac Straits Health System

A St. Ignace medical center is gearing up for a major expansion due to demand for medical services – 20,000 square feet, to be exact.

The Mackinac Straits Health System, which has locations throughout northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, is investing over $10 million for the project.

CEO Karen Cheeseman said growth in the region has staff stretched thin. The additional space will bring new administrative offices, freeing up existing areas for patient care.

“We know that a large portion of that building will be needed for the delivery of care,” Cheeseman said. “So that may include primary care physicians, internal medicine… and a list of services in the surgical center.”

Integrated Design Solutions, an architect and design firm was hired to help plan and build the project.

Cheeseman said funding comes from a grant made up of state budget allocations from last year.

“We're really fortunate that we've been able to secure this funding and continue to provide quality and accessible care to the community,” Cheeseman said.

Cheeseman said Mackinac Straits is also working to expand telehealth services and recover from staffing shortages left by the pandemic. Both those things present their own challenges, she said.

“Broadband initiatives will allow our patients, particularly in the most rural locations, to be able to have the appropriate connection,” she said. “As we look at things today, that's just not possible in some of the straits areas.”

The hospital expansion will break ground this summer and finish in 2024.

Michael Livingston covers the area around the Straits of Mackinac - including Cheboygan, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties as a Report for America corps member.