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CoxHealth Medical Center South was built in 1985. Shown here is the construction of the walkway over National Avenue between Cox Plaza and the Medical Center taken from the June 11, 1990 SBJ issue.
CoxHealth Medical Center South was built in 1985. Shown here is the construction of the walkway over National Avenue between Cox Plaza and the Medical Center taken from the June 11, 1990 SBJ issue.

No. 1 Springfield's Medical Mile

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While health care has a rich history in Springfield, it was CoxHealth’s construction in 1985 of Cox Medical Center South that planted the seed for Springfield’s Medical Mile.

The “mile” extends roughly from the St. John’s campus on 11 acres at 1235 E. Cherokee St., at National Avenue and Sunshine Street, to CoxHealth’s south campus at 3850 S. National Ave.
Long before the Medical Mile was imagined, both health systems had roots in Springfield.

St. John’s Hospital was formed in 1891 by three Sisters of Mercy, according to www.stjohns.com, and CoxHealth was founded in 1906 as Burge Deaconess Hospital.

CoxHealth is credited with taking the lead in developing land along a stretch of South National Avenue from Battlefield Road to James River Freeway into its portion of the Medical Mile.

When Cox Medical Center South was built, there were 14 nearby facilities tied to the system, and the north Springfield hospital was renamed Cox Medical Center North.

St. John’s role in establishing the Medical Mile began when the Sisters of Mercy purchased land for a 250-bed facility after World War II and opened at the hospital’s current site in 1952.

Through the years, health care facilities along the Medical Mile have continued to evolve. St. John’s opened a 216,000-square-foot surgery center at the intersection of National Avenue and Seminole
Street in May 2003 and its 350,000-square-foot, $101 million patient tower that anchors the north end of the mile opened in 2008.

CoxHealth opened a $21.8 million surgery center near its south campus in 2009, and debuted its $47.8 million, 65,000-square-foot Meyer Orthopedic Center in April.

There are numerous clinics – including Ferrell-Duncan and Smith-Glynn Callaway – and ancillary health businesses sprinkled along the Medical Mile, but not all development on or near that stretch of National Avenue is related to health care.  

One example is Battlefield Marketplace, a $7.5 million, 46,400-square-foot retail center on 6.5 acres on Battlefield Road, as well as restaurants and offices that are well-positioned to take advantage of Medical Mile growth.

See the full list of pivotal points chosen by the Springfield Business Journal here.

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