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Mercy's planned Wentzville hospital could bring jobs, services to booming region

Mercy officials said the proposed $650-million hospital could bring hundreds of jobs to the west St. Louis suburbs.
Mercy officials said the proposed $650-million hospital could bring hundreds of jobs to the west St. Louis suburbs.

Leaders in Wentzville and St. Charles County say a $650 million Mercy hospital planned for the area would bring much-welcomed jobs and services to the fast-growing region.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will need to sign off on the 75-bed hospital near the western end of Interstate 64 before it can be built.

If it does, Mercy will bring short-term construction and trade jobs and long-term health care jobs to the city, Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione said.

“We are probably going to be the biggest community in St. Charles County in the near future,” he said. “And we try to manage that growth. But I think they see the need is there.”

The far-west suburbs are growing even as the St. Louis region loses population. Wentzville’s population has increased 60% since 2010, and St. Charles County's as a whole has risen 15%.

In the past, people worked in the urban center and commuted home to the suburbs, said Guccione. Now, the suburbs are becoming economic hubs themselves.

Gas is expensive, he added, and people like to live close to where they work.

Mercy officials estimate the planned 75-bed hospital will bring hundreds of long-term health care jobs to the area, in addition to the trade and construction jobs needed to build the 483,000-square-foot hospital.

“Those people are going to be needing housing, [and] it’s going to bring new businesses to Wentzville because people want to eat, live, work, play,” Guccioni said. “So there's a lot of opportunities in what's real, for economic impact with this hospital.”

Mercy officials said a state committee will likely consider the plan this summer. Before the health department approves the proposal, Mercy will need to prove that there’s a significant need for health services and enough potential patients.

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlman said there's plenty of need in the region. The hospital could serve the thousands of people moving west to Wentzville each year, he said.

Ehlmann added he expects people to move even farther west into Warren County as the state widens Interstate 70 and a planned meatpacking plant opens near Foristell.

“The people have definitely voted with their feet in terms of wanting to live here,” Ehlmann said. “And I'm hoping, you know, eventually we'll have employers following them.”

Ehlmann said that SSM Health-St. Joseph’s in Lake St. Louis and BJC HealthCare’s Progress West Hospital in O’Fallon and other hospitals are in the eastern part of the suburban region, and that more services are needed on the west side.

“This is going to be not only good for not only St. Charles, but Lincoln and Warren,” he said. “Maybe even there may be some people in St. Louis County will go that direction. Who knows?”

Copyright 2024 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Sarah Fentem reports on sickness and health as part of St. Louis Public Radio’s news team. She previously spent five years reporting for different NPR stations in Indiana, immersing herself deep, deep into an insurance policy beat from which she may never fully recover. A longitme NPR listener, she grew up hearing WQUB in Quincy, Illinois, which is now owned by STLPR. She lives in the Kingshighway Hills neighborhood, and in her spare time likes to watch old sitcoms, meticulously clean and organize her home and go on outdoor adventures with her fiancé Elliot. She has a cat, Lil Rock, and a dog, Ginger.