The Rock River Valley Blood Center (RRVBC) hosted a groundbreaking event today to celebrate the start of construction on its new  8,700-square-foot donor center which will be located at 418 N. Longwood Dr. in Rockford, across the parking lot from its current 6th  Street location.

The new donor center, which is expected to open to the public in the summer of 2022, will offer a warm, inviting environment with a donor-friendly layout and provide an easier registration process to enhance donor experience. In addition, private donor spaces have been added to accommodate patient therapies.
The current donor center located at 419 North 6th Street will be home to the RRVBC lab, storage, and administration offices.

“We love our current downtown location and the neighborhood we are in as we have been in the current location since the 1960s,” said Lisa Entrikin, CEO of the Rock River Valley Blood Center. “We feel a huge sense of community here and wanted to continue to be a convenient place for our dedicated donor base to visit. When we began to outgrow our current location, we wanted to stay nearby and prioritized a plan that would allow us to stay in close proximity to our current location.”

The organization purchased the Longwood Drive building from the City of Rockford in 2011 and has been utilizing it for storage. A nearly 1,400-square-foot addition is being added to the building to create the layout and size needed to enhance donor experience the Blood Center’s dedicated donors and attract additional donors to meet the region’s ongoing blood donation needs. The blood center is using all local contractors for the construction.

RRVBC is the only provider of blood to 13 hospitals in the region which requires 800 donors per week to meet the demand.

“Our growth is exciting as that means we are able to provide more blood to local hospitals and save more lives,” Entrikin continued. “To celebrate our new location, we invite our community members to donate blood at least two times in 2022.”

Donating blood is simple, and one unit can save up to three lives. After registering, a donor care specialist will take individual’s vitals (temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and hemoglobin), and each person must complete an eligibility questionnaire before they can sit back and relax while giving. The donation itself only lasts about 10 minutes. Refreshments await after donating.

First-time donors should bring a photo ID. Individuals can donate a single unit (whole blood donation, the most common type) every 56 days. Students can donate once they turn 16 years of age and must have a signed parental consent.