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New landscaping opens in front of the newly built medical center. Consturctuon recently finished at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center University District in Eugene. (Mary Grosswendt/Emerald)

Since April of 2021, PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center University District, near the University of Oregon campus, has undergone a modernization project, replacing four older buildings and remodeling other parts of the hospital. The grounds are now landscaped, leaving a large grass area featuring benches and a rock walkway. 

Four buildings built in 1941, 1965 and 1969 were taken down and recycled to leave PeaceHealth with new space for a development project. The project had been planned since 2008, but due to the recession, the renovation was put off until early 2021, according to Alicia Beymer, chief administrative officer at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center University District.

Beymer said the construction team worked closely with the hospital throughout the year to ensure safety of the patients and nearby facilities. 

“We collaborated very closely with the University of Oregon and Bushnell University from the beginning. We were letting them know about trucks coming in and out, potential vibrations from the work, and for them to notify us if anything was impacting the campus,” said Beymer. 

The construction team met with hospital staff, infection prevention specialists, clinical teams, facility teams and environmental service teams every week. Beymer explained the construction plan was always three weeks in advance to ensure safety plans and to allow time for alerting nearby businesses. 

The teams working on the development project were able to recycle some of the former buildings’ materials, like concrete and a stained glass window. The window now stands in the lobby’s chapel. 

The hospital’s lobby was also renovated with a dining room and a gift shop. They also reinstalled the stained glass window in the chapel, and added memorabilia to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace.

The new space is now frequented by students, faculty and neighbors. Patients are able to access the area to relax, and physical rehabilitation patients can use the grounds for therapy, said Beymer.

“We always had the idea of modest landscaping but who knew it would be this beautiful. The vision was that it would brighten things up, but we never could have imagined the beauty of it,”  Beymer said.

Multiple stores and shops reside across the street from the development project.  

Bree’s Way has been in business on Alder Street for four years. Bree Crane, the owner, said she expected for the construction to end with a parking lot but is happy the PeaceHealth employees have somewhere to destress from the day. 

Ken Lee, owner of Izakaya Jinsei, was able to watch the construction and completion of the project over the past year from his business. 

“I thought there were going to be more buildings coming in, that’s what I expected, but everything is so green and amazing,” Lee said. “I think the students and the people needed a space where they could walk and look at it all. As a local, I like it a lot, it’s very pretty.”

After this space became accessible to the public, students and community members can be seen passing through the lawn, and enjoying the space everyday. 

“It was a great investment that we are all thankful for, and that we hope everyone can find enjoyment in. It would’ve been impossible without the team we had on board,” Beymer said.