A new era for Eau Claire: 1962
Sacred Heart Hospital, having twice outgrown its physical capacity due to expanded services, opened a new era in 1962. Sister Clarine, Administrator, responding to local advice, acquired the excellent site on Clairemont Avenue.
On June 29, 1962, Reverend Mother M. Odilia, O.S.F., Mother General of the Hospital Sisters of Saint Francis, came from Munich, in Westphalia, Germany, to turn the first spade of earth at the groundbreaking for the $12-million Sacred Heart Hospital of Eau Claire.
Most significant was the support for this project demonstrated by the Eau Claire community, which organized to provide more than $800,000 to supplement federal and borrowed funds to create the modern facility.
An open house was held at the completed structure on November 13, 1964, and the Hospital was formally dedicated on December 6, 1964. It was the 75th anniversary of the founding of Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire. Patients and personnel moved into the new facility on December 14, 1964, without a single unhappy incident. Twenty-four Sisters in a variety of positions were on the Hospital staff during this period.
The ground and first floors housed the administrative offices, waiting rooms, pharmacy, dietary department, cafeteria, physical therapy, radiology and laboratory, central sterilizing department and space for employee lockers. The next six floors were patient care units, assigned for 175 general medical-surgical, 20 psychiatric, 24 maternity, and 38 pediatric patients. The eighth and ninth floors were constructed in order to provide for future expansion, but at this time the interior was not completed.
A special section of the new construction provided for the Sisters' convent, the chapel and auditorium; another for boiler, mechanical equipment and laundry.
Early in 1968, it became apparent that additional beds were needed to satisfy the growing demand for hospitalization from the growing medical staff. It was decided in June 1968 to complete the interior of the eighth and ninth floors of the hospital as additional patient units. When finished, the hospital in 1969 provided a capacity of 390 adult and pediatric beds, and 22 bassinets.