USDA Ohio Rural Development loan brings project to life

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ONTARIO, Ohio — Richland and Crawford county residents now have access to a brand-new, 24-hour, full-service hospital — Avita Ontario — anchored in the Richland Mall.

A $91 million Community Facilities program loan in 2015 helped Avita Health Systems convert the abandoned Lazarus department store building into a nearly 200,000-square-foot facility with inpatient care, a surgical unit, and a 23-bed emergency department.

Earlier building renovations brought supporting laboratory and radiology services online, and a portion of the loan proceeds helped offset the cost of hospital equipment.

Avita anticipates the hospital will bring more than 300 full-time jobs to the area, and will provide health care to nearly 125,000 residents in portions of three counties in North Central Ohio.

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