Editorial: New St. Francis facility valuable to community

WHen Alpine Electronics moved its manufacturing operations to Mexico, the fate of its factory building was unclear. Now that longtime vacant property on the east side of Greenwood has been given new life thanks to a major health and hospital group.

The abandoned factory has been reborn as the administrative center for Franciscan St. Francis Health. Hospital officials have renovated the building, creating workspace for departments such as billing, marketing and scheduling. Offices and cubicles have been constructed for 360 employees. Classrooms and training labs will serve 100 students daily.

Renovation work started in April and will continue through the rest of the year before the building is completely done, said John Ross, former hospital vice president of human resources and current project consultant.

The building had been vacant since 2006. The Alpine Electronics plant opened in 1986, manufacturing car audio and navigation systems for major automakers such as Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mercedes Benz and BMW. The company moved its manufacturing operations to Mexico in 2004 and shifted its business operations to a smaller space in Greenwood in 2006.

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