McDonough District Hospital felt it needed to update its healthcare facilities for women so it made some renovations and built an addition. The result is the Dolores Kator Switzer Women's Center.
Vicky Kipling, Foundation Specialist at MDH, said Dick Switzer made the lead gift of $1.9 million to ensure the center would be named in honor his late wife, Dolores Kator Switzer. Kipling said Dick taught at Spoon River College and Dolores worked at Western Illinois University.
“The reason why they had all those dollars was because they saved all of her paychecks and they invested them. They lived off of Dick’s checks. And that was another reason why he wanted to name the center after Dolores,” said Kipling.
She said Dick Switzer also left his estate to MDH – he died October 19, 2016, exactly three years after Dolores passed away on October 19, 2013 -- so the total gift from the Switzer family amounted to $2.6 million.
MDH held an open house on October 2, 2019 to show off the center. But the facility is not quite ready to open. Installation of the HVAC system slowed progress so the goal is to wrap up construction in the next few weeks.
Kipling said once construction is complete, no one will be allowed into the center until the Illinois Department of Public Health inspects it.
“Once it’s had a final cleaning, we have to wait for the state. So it has to sit empty. We’re not even allowed to walk in here,” Kipling said.
“The state comes in, they approve it, and then we can let the patients in.”
She said the hospital hopes to send its letter-of-intent to the state by the end of the month. The state will have up to 45 days after it receives the letter to conduct the inspection.
“They could come on the first day, they could come on the 45th day. We hope they come early,” said Kipling.
“Once they give us the approval, we will stock it, get everything in here, the nurses will do a rundown of how everything works, and once they are all trained we will move obstetrics back to this area.”
She hoped the center will open by the end of the year.
Kipling said the center will feature:
- Private rooms with a private bathroom for new moms
- Remodeled mammography diagnostic areas
- A stereotactic breast biopsy unit
- An ultrasound suite
- A bone density suite
- Private patient suites for obstetrics and postsurgical gynecological patients
Kipling said she especially likes the postpartum suites.
“It just reminds me of a spa or a hotel. You’re treated top-of-the-line. Everything is new.”
The Price Tag
A spokesperson for MDH said the estimated cost for the center was a bit more than $8 million. They now expect it to come in under budget, though the final cost won’t be known until the project is completed. They said it is also slightly ahead of the original timeline for completion.
Kipling said the hospital has raised $5.2 million for the project, which is close to its $5.5 million goal. She hoped the open house and resulting media coverage will help the hospital meet or exceed the goal.
She said remaining $2.5 million will come from loans.