By Josette Keelor
Work on an $18 million facility on the campus of Shenandoah Memorial Hospital in Woodstock should begin next year and will include a new emergency room, onsite urgent care center and office building for physicians who currently have offices in the community, Floyd Heater, hospital president, said Monday.
"It's just part of a very exciting chapter for SMH," Heater said. "It really kind of represents one of the final stages of a master facility plan that we set out to do about 10 years ago."
Earlier stages included an ambulatory surgery renovation and expansion in 2007, surgical services renovation in 2010, and the addition of diagnostic center medical imaging and cardio-pulmonary services in 2012.
The Master Facilities Plan was developed in 2004 for the existing 28.8-acre campus, according to hospital materials.
With "great support from Valley Health over the year," Heater said, the hospital has "stayed very true to plan."
He said the hospital plans to fund the project mostly through the issuance of old bonds Valley Health intends to refinance. The hospital has requested $15 million to pay for the project and plans to raise the remaining $2.9 million from hospital reserves and community support.
The new facility, which could be finished in the first quarter of 2016, will feature a new emergency department on the south side of the hospital campus behind the surgery center, said Lisa Stokes, vice president of Patient Care Services.
The 18,000-square foot emergency department will be on the ground floor of the new building and include a covered entrance to shield arrivals from weather conditions.
The total floor space of the proposed building is 47,558 square feet, she said.
"Within the emergency department, we will have the ability to have the minor care treatment," Stokes said. The radiology department, currently in another building, will also move to the new emergency department.
Patient rooms will increase from 12 to 17, offering more privacy and space for patients, families and hospital staff.
Right now, Stokes said, "areas are bathed with curtains. These will actually be private patient rooms."
Heater agreed, "Our real issue is privacy."
The upper two floors of the new building will house some community physicians' medical offices.
The physicians, who are all based in the Woodstock area, will move to what Heater called "a more convenient centralized location."
"In most cases, it should represent a more convenient situation for the patients," he said.
According to Stokes, the addition to the hospital campus is an answer to community need.
Over the past five years, she said, "We have seen increases in volume through our emergency department."
According to Heater, emergency room traffic has increased by 17 percent since 2011. He attributes some of that increase to hospital improvements over the last 10 years.
The new building design would serve the hospital's current client base while providing "plenty of breathing room to grow in the future," he said -- "growth that has already occurred that we're trying to catch up with."
"[It] should allow for growth really into the next decade," he said.
Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or email@example.com