By Darryl Bauer, WHIO-TV
What will happen to the former Community (City) Hospital in Springfield? That is a frequent question around town these days, along with the future of the now closed Mercy Medical Center site.
At this point, there aren’t any definite answers.
Community-Mercy Health Partners spokesman Dave Lamb says they are still studying all options. But he stressed they will maintain the two facilities and not allow them to become eyesores or hazards.
Operations at the School of Nursing on the Community campus will shift to Clark State Community College. Mental Health Services will move into a building to be constructed next to the new hospital.
The Imaging Center on the Mercy campus will ultimately move to the Springfield Regional Medical Center site. The Mercycrest Building next to the former Mercy Medical Center still contains doctors’ offices and other functions.
Community Hospital closed on Nov. 13, the same day the new Springfield Regional Medical Center began operations. Ten days later, at 9 a.m., members of the Marine Corps League and Chapter 620 Military Order of the Purple Heart lowered and folded the last flag to fly in front of the hospital, then presented it to Ron D. Connovich, Vice-President of Operations for Community-Mercy Health Partners.
The ceremony also included the playing of “TAPS” and the Commander of the Chapter, Dave Bauer, accepted the flag. (A picture from that ceremony is on page C2 of today’s News-Sun).
Arrangements were then made to donate the flag to the Clark County Heritage Center, which was done on Dec. 7.
The Heritage Center’s Director of Collections, Virginia Weygandt, said, “like the Memorial Hall time capsule, it’s an important item,” adding the flag will “be a keepsake to help remember Community Hospital.”
She also told me they’re undecided on specific plans for the flag, but it is being added to the Heritage Center’s collection of artifacts and “as exhibit ideas develop, who knows?”
Bauer recalled seeing the flag as his wife was at the hospital for treatment. “I was concerned the history would never be told,” he said. “I wanted to donate (the flag) to the community for future generations (to see).”
Additionally, Lamb told me the James W. Conley VFW Post 3660 donated a new flag for the new hospital. It is now flying on a pole provided by the Springfield Regional Medical Center Auxiliary.
Both former hospitals have a great deal of history connected to them. There is an interesting and informative display along an entire wall outside the cafeteria of the Springfield Regional Medical Center that details the history of Springfield’s hospitals, and of health care in our community.
It is encouraging to know that pieces of that history have been preserved and that for many years to come, future generations of residents and visitors will be able to look back and see what we who are here now have enjoyed.