Sunday, March 14, 2010
Two-year project to add 100 jobs
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENSWork has begun to nearly double the size of the Emergency Room at ETMC-Athens.
The $32.4 million project also includes two new larger state-of-the-art surgery rooms with expanded day surgery and recovery rooms, eight new birthing rooms and about 100 full and part-time quality jobs, not counting the employment of area subcontractors during the construction.
Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Four groups of dignitaries, including Henderson County Commissioners, state Sen. Robert Nichols (center) and hospital executives marked a $32.4 million expansion of East Texas Medical Center in Athens with a groundbreaking Tuesday. The original hospital was constructed and opened in 1986 for $31 million and won a prestigious architectural design award. Pictured (from left to right) are commissioner Ronny Lawrence, ETMC executives Gene McIntyre and Jerry Massey, Nichols, ETMC president/CEO Elmer G. Ellis, hospital administrator Pat Wallace, commissioners Jerry West and Joe Hall.
Plans for the two-year expansion project, first announced Feb. 17 ( See Feb. 21 issue of The Monitor), moved forward with a grand groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.
This is a profoundly important day in the life of ETMC Athens, and will touch many more lives now and in the future, hospital administrator Pat Wallace said to a crowd of more than 250 well-wishers.
By executing these plans, were upholding the commitment we made to Henderson County back in 1982, when we entered into a partnership with Henderson County, a partnership that continues strong to this day, Wallace said.
With 16 hospital facilities in East Texas, the ETMC system has always made emergency services central to its mission, ETMC president and CEO Elmer G. Ellis said.
The growth in emergency and trauma cases over the past 24 years makes the expansion of the Emergency Department critical at this time, as the center serves as a true lifeline for the community, Ellis said.
It is no small thing what youve done here over the last 24 years, guest speaker the honorable Sen. Robert Nichols said. Elmer keeps his promises of long-term health care. Twenty-four years ago, ETMC and this community committed $31 million to build this fine facility, and here you are again making a larger commitment than that.
Speaking to the medical staff present at the event, Nichols continued. Its your quality work and commitment that has made an expansion like this necessary, he said.
Planned in a series of phases, the project includes expanding the southwest corner (facing Loop 7) of the hospital with a 55,600-square-foot wraparound and the remodeling of about 12,000 square feet of existing space.
The expanded ER will add eight spacious exam rooms for a total of 22, two state-of-the-art trauma rooms and a spacious, private waiting area. Nearby, the Intensive Care Unit is also being reconfigured to include two additional rooms, bringing the total to 10 beds.
The ER entrance will include a completely covered two-lane drop-off to provide shelter for two ambulances and six to eight cars at a time, along with additional parking.
This will significantly be the front door opening up on the loop, Ellis said. I wish I could tell you we chose this spot knowing the loop was going to be here, but we didnt know. We were just blessed.
During construction, visitors to the ER, ICU and obstetrics (OB) will enter via a covered walkway. At no time during the construction will any hospital service now being offered be denied, Wallace said. We will remain open throughout the process, he said.
Once, ICU is relocated into the newly created space, the OB will expand its current area to include eight additional birthing rooms.
Radiology will also be expanded. Also included in the project are spaces for future expansion and storage in key areas.
Construction has already begun to create more parking spaces and a second helipad to replace the current ones about to be claimed by the expansion. Visitor parking at the front of the hospital is also being expanded and access improved throughout the project.
Weve assembled a top-notch team of designers and builders, ETMC corporate director of plant services Robert Layton said. Most have worked with us on other system projects.
Architect Hammel, Green & Abrahamson, based out of Minneapolis, and builder Vaughn Construction Co. out of Bryan/College Station, will be working with interior planner Nori Umemoto Design Associates out of San Jose, Calif.
At the peak of construction, 100 to 130 construction workers will be on site, many of whom will be area residents, Layton said.
In view of the economy and unemployment rate, this is really a bright spot for this East Texas community, Nichols said.
Its about the future of Henderson County. Its about your future, Nichols said.
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