FG and PCNS Play Key Role in OSF Healthcare’s New Headquarters
The role of FG and its Peoria-based division, Pointcore Network Services (PCNS), in transforming a downtown Peoria landmark into the OSF HealthCare ministry headquarters isn’t as obvious as the restored crown moldings, the rebuilt decorative plaster capitals at the top of more than 100 massive columns, or the original staircase that winds throughout the historic 1905 building.
The work of PCNS is there in the fiber cables housed in precision-cut channels under the thick concrete floors and the newly built closets stacked one above the other on separate floors for data runs and servers.
It’s there in the way OSF employees can seamlessly and securely work on the premises in flexible workspaces; in the way employees and visitors can use their devices without issue—anywhere in the building.
It’s there if the day comes when patients are treated virtually from that site.
The $135 million renovation and restoration project got underway in 2018. PCNS Network Director Collin Summers remembers when the network services company was called in on the project to do what it does best: enable healthcare systems to optimize their networks to meet strategic goals.
But PCNS had another layer of responsibility: historic preservation. That meant working closely with architects and construction contractors to make sure the renovated building was both beautiful and historically accurate.
“We had to make state-of-the-art technology basically look like it wasn’t there,” Summers says.
PCNS had to figure out how to develop and deploy the best healthcare technology possible—despite the constraints they were given. That’s nothing new for PCNS, which has numerous restrictions whenever it works in hospitals and healthcare settings. In the end, the PCNS team has to figure out how to get its work done without disturbing patients and staffs to make sure technology infrastructures never go down.
“We don’t deliver patient care, but my team ensures that patient care works,” Summers says. “We know that healthcare is a better place because of what we’ve done.”
Starting from Scratch
The positive with the OSF HealthCare headquarters project is that the building was essentially gutted. That meant the PCNS team was able to build the infrastructure exactly the way it needed to be built—from scratch. In the end, PCNS outfitted the OSF HealthCare headquarters with a complete fiber ring throughout the historic building with resilient and redundant paths, creating a 24/7 system.
“We created a fiber ring in the building and we also put the building on OSF’s Peoria metro fiber ring,” Summers says. “This helps ensure that we’re taking advantage of the significant investment in infrastructure that OSF has made over the years. Because of the metro ring, we’re able to do this at a reasonable cost and ensure optimal performance and control.”
PCNS also enabled higher levels of automation and security by using state-of-the-art fabric technology. This allows devices to be automatically isolated based on their credentials and device type. This means when OSF mission partners enter the building, their devices will be automatically secured based on their credentials, allowing them easy yet secure access to the right services and resources.
The seven-level landmark building at the corner of Southwest Adams and Fulton in downtown Peoria once housed Block and Kuhl Co. department store. When the restoration project got underway pre-pandemic in 2018, OSF estimated the building would house about 750 employees. With COVID changing the way people work, about 500 OSF HealthCare administrative employees will work in the building with another 175 “hoteling” back and forth.
Summers says beyond the role PCNS played in creating a state-of-the-art, 24/7 technology infrastructure, he feels good about the company helping to bring new life to a building that had been on the brink of demolition.
“We know that the OSF ministry has a really good, long-term home and we’ve also contributed to the heart of Peoria,” Summers says. “That’s really neat. And we know if they ever want to put virtual patient care there, it’s going to work just fine.”