Leaders break ground on expansion

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 12, 2007

Community and hospital officials welcomed the start ofconstruction on a $12 million expansion of King’s Daughters MedicalCenter with a ground-breaking ceremony Thursday.

County and hospital officials Thursday spoke of the neededgrowth of the facility to match the growth of the localcommunity.

“A growing community has to have a growing hospital,” saidChancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop, speaking on behalf of thecounty.

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Bishop said not only does a larger, more modern hospital bettermeet the medical needs of the community, but it also has asignificant influence on economic development. Industriesconsidering locating to an area always evaluate three things – workforce availability and the quality of education and health care, hesaid.

Sherra Smith, secretary of KDMC’s board of trustees, said theexpansion goes a long way toward meeting the hospital’s first”vision statement” of its charter, which is to “provide thenecessary equipment and services to meet the needs of a growingcommunity.”

KDMC leases the building from the county, which had to approveof the bonds issued to partially fund the project, even though itis at no cost or liability to the county.

The building was originally constructed in 1964 with minoradditions made in 1965, 1974, 1986, 1993 and 1998. This year’sproject, consisting of approximately 13,894 square feet of space ofnew construction and approximately 14,375 square feet ofrenovations, will be the largest expansion of the hospital’sfacilities, said Chief Executive Officer Phillip Grady.

The new construction will consist primarily of a new emergencyroom, an intensive care/cardiac unit addition and 10 new privatepatient rooms, which will impact about 40 percent of the entirefacility, he said. The construction has been divided into sevenphases to prevent disruption in supporting medical services and toprovide the least possible inconvenience to patients.

New construction includes the installation or upgrade of thesprinkler system and climate control as well as curtail the spreadof infectious disease within the hospital, Grady said.

Parking in the rear parking lot, near the emergency room, willbe limited by the construction, and the entrance most commonly usedfor emergency room access will be closed during the 10-month-longconstruction project.

The existing parking area will also see some changes, he said.When complete, the parking lot near the emergency room will beexpanded to 109 spaces.

Also, Grady said, a designated helipad will be constructedadjacent to the parking lot. The hospital has not had a helipad andthe helicopter has been forced to land in the parking lot whennecessary, which required hospital officials to track down visitorsto move vehicles.

“Not only will the designated helipad be more convenient andefficient, but it will also save time that can be critical topatient care,” Grady said.

First floor construction will concentrate on the expansion ofthe emergency department and relocate the ICU, presently located inthe ER, to the third floor addition directly above the emergencydrop-off entrance.

The emergency department renovations include a triage area, twotrauma rooms, two cardiac care units, six general examinationrooms, two rooms for gynecology, a cast room, an X-ray room, apsychiatric room, an ENT room, a pediatric room, four “fast track”rooms, a staff lounge, a nurse manager office, reception area,waiting area and other facilities, such as an elevator with directaccess to the new ICU, in 7,000 square feet.

Additionally, two areas of the existing first floor that are nota part of the emergency department will be renovated – one forphysical therapy and another respiratory therapy.

The 10 new private patient rooms, each with its own bath andshower, will be added to the second floor directly above theexpanded emergency room. Additional second floor renovationsinclude the obstetrics and nursery departments and upgrading theexisting patient rooms.

The third floor’s new ICU will consist of eight beds, with anurses’ station located in the middle. One of the beds will beestablished as an isolation room, with increased security againstthe spread of infectious disease.

New additions to the third floor also include a staff lounge andstorage areas.