News that the end is near for the former Bon Secours Hospital comes as no surprise.
But that forewarning doesn't eliminate the emotional pain that comes with knowing a longtime part of our community will soon be gone, despite the dedicated service of so many for so long.
Last week, Altoona Regional Health System announced that the hospital that operated under the Mercy and Bon Secours hospital name and now called the Seventh Avenue Campus will close on March 28. All patient care will be consolidated at the Altoona Hospital Campus.
It's a change that has been in the works for years.
In November 2004, after decades of fighting like cats and dogs and amidst ever increasing pressure to control costs, Bon Secours-Holy Family Hospital and Altoona Hospital merged to create Altoona Regional Health System.
That set the stage for the eventual consolidation of services about to be completed.
Over the years, numerous construction projects have been undertaken that has made closing the former Catholic hospital possible. And nearly a year ago, Bon Secours Health System announced it was ending its affiliation with Altoona Regional.
When the former Bon Secours facility closes, it will end a long and proud chapter in Altoona's history, and all who have worked at the hospital deserve our thanks.
This closure isn't a reflection on their care or their service but rather is the result of health care changes, such as the cost of buying equipment and efforts by the government and insurance companies to hold down the cost of care that made keeping two full-line hospitals serving the same pool of patients unrealistic.
But as in life, while we can remember fondly bygone days, we have to live in the present. And Altoona and the health care system continue to change and present new challenges.
One doesn't have to like all of the changes. But we have to live with them, and given everything we are seeing, completing the consolidation makes the most sense for health care in the region.
For now, the days for the Seventh Avenue Campus are numbered. And while people may mourn its eventual closing, we will move on and hope that the eventual development of the land now occupied by the hospital will bring new benefits to our community in the future.