Construction on a new emergency room that promises to double space and improve patient experience at St. Dominic’s Hospital could get under way this fall.
The hospital is making way for a $35 million to $40 million expansion project and could schedule a groundbreaking for a new emergency room (ER) as early as the fall, hospital officials say.
The ER is needed, in large part, to address increased patient volume, as well as to improve patient flow and patient care, Director of Marketing Andy North said.
The ER currently has 25 general treatment rooms, four psychiatrist rooms and eight chest pain treatment rooms.
The expansion will double the number of rooms, North said. “The current space has served us well for many years. However, (it) is limited,” Vice President of Information Technology and Facilities Keith Van Camp said. “We are experiencing higher patient volumes, so more treatment rooms and a better design are needed to provide the best possible patient experience.
“The new design flow and added space will help us achieve our … patient satisfaction objectives.”
The facility will be constructed on green space between the current ER and the south parking garage. It will double the hospital’s emergency treatment rooms, as well as create separate drive-up entrances for ambulances and private vehicles. Additionally, the facility will provide an expanded waiting room for patients and families.
The new facility also will be designed to improve patient flow – from check in, to treatment and then discharge, Van Camp said.
The work represents the first major renovation of the emergency room in years. Minor renovations were made in 1969 and 1984, followed by a larger renovation of existing space in 1991. In the late 1990s, additional square footage was added near the ER to increase treatment space, and in 2010, an eight-bed chest pain observation unit was added. In 2012, an ER “Express” was opened to increase patient capacity.
The ER is located at the northwest corner of the Lakeland campus and was designed in 1951. Previous expansions added additional square feet, but “did not allow for the best utilization of staff and patient flow,” Van Camp said. The ER Express, for instance, “was not contiguous with the main ER and as such (was) run like a separate ER.”
The project is being funded in part through the Expanding Excellence in Emergency Care capital campaign.
Hospital officials hope to raise $10 million in contributions, said Kay McRee, chief development officer and executive director of St. Dominic Health Services Foundation.
To date, individuals, corporations and foundations have committed more than $6.5 million.
Construction should take 30 months and will include new construction as well as renovations of the existing ER facility as well.
“When the expanded ER is completed, patients will begin using (that) area while we renovate parts of the existing ER,” Van Camp said. “Once the renovation is completed, it will be integrated into the expanded ER.”
Patient care will not be affected by the work.
“The existing emergency department will remain open and in service throughout the ... construction period,” Van Camp said. “There should be minimal changes for patients and visitors.”
Fountain Construction is completing the first phase, which is designed to make ready the site for the new construction.
That work includes demolishing an old chapel and rosary hall and adding a new stairway and elevator tower to the south parking garage, Van Camp said.
Work on that phase is expected to wrap up in October.
The second phase is out for bid and a contractor is expected to be selected later this summer.