St. Luke’s to break ground

Published 4:52 pm Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The final rendering of St. Luke’s Hospital’s new wing.

Amid fanfare and gold shovels, St. Luke’s Hospital friends and officials will signal the beginning of a $5.6 million construction project with the ceremonial groundbreaking and reception planned for 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 29, under the big tent near the hospital’s helipad.

The community is invited to celebrate the kick-off for construction of a six-bed replacement wing on the hospital campus, featuring enlarged patient rooms, a state-of the-art gym for physical rehabilitation, a new nurses’ station and a large, comfortable room for family time.

“We will be moving dirt to signal progress,” said Ken Shull, chief executive officer for St. Luke’s Hospital. Shull along with several members of the hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees will participate in a short program to mark the hospital’s first major facility upgrade since 1991 when a six-bed Intensive Care Unit was added.

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Following the program, groundbreaking, food and libations, St. Luke’s Hospital will begin construction to add a new nursing care wing that will replace six outdated patient rooms, combine rehab services under one nice, new roof, and ease inefficiencies in-patient care.

“We believe this new project will enable us to be more competitive with neighboring hospitals and more efficient for patient care. And we expect it will engage the community and once again invoke great pride in our facility,” Shull said.

The new wing will connect to the administrative hallway of the hospital, which was originally built in 1972. At that time 40 years ago, the 76-bed facility was modern, well-equipped and the pride of the community.

“Right now, we’re delivering state-of-the-art care in a 40-year-old building,” said general surgeon Dr. Jim Holleman, chief of staff and a member of the Board of Trustees at St. Luke’s Hospital. “We are not as efficient as we should be, and we’re not as attractive as we could be. But these plans will allow St. Luke’s Hospital to provide improved aesthetics, efficiency and recovery for our patients. The new environment will, no doubt, enhance the patient experience and reflect the level of care patients receive.”

Shull agreed.

“Even with a dedicated staff who inspire confidence and excellence in patient care, we are faced with an aging facility, cramped patient rooms, and small bathrooms with narrow doorways that make it difficult to maneuver,” he said. “And those are just a few of the challenges confronting our staff and patients.”