Tonawanda News

June 29, 2013

Construction on Kenmore Mercy's new ER weeks away from completion

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — KENMORE — Construction of Kenmore Mercy’s new $14 million emergency room is less than a month away from completion, hospital officials said.

“The work is going very well,” CEO Jim Millard said. “They are doing the final work on both the inside and the outside of the building.”

Construction of the addition, which is on the south side of the hospital, began in March 2012 and was largely a response to increased demand. The new ER will have 25 rooms, compared to 18 in the old facility, and is designed to handle 40,000 visits a year. It will be equipped with a centralized nurses’ station, a drive-up ambulance bay, two resuscitation rooms and digital radiology equipment.

The hospital has scheduled a ribbon cutting for the facility for July 25 at 3 p.m. Kenmore Mercy will also be hosting an open house July 27 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“We are inviting people in and giving them tours, there will be a teddy bear clinic for kids,” Millard said. “We are inviting everyone from the community.”

The new ER will then begin serving patients in the morning of July 31, and the old ER, which was built in the 1960s, will be reused for locker rooms and other purposes. 

“We have been thinking of the end of July for quite some time, so we are on track,” Millard said. “The staff is quite excited about it, we have been giving them hard hat tours so they can see the space and see how the work is going to change. It is a beautiful space.” 

Construction is also continuing on the hospital’s new 15,300-square-foot orthopedics unit, which will be on the second floor of the addition above the emergency room. 

The facility, which will cost $5.8 million, will house 24 spacious private rooms, a staff lounge and two nurses’ stations, as well as a rehabilitative gym for therapy. 

The decision to expand the unit was also the result of high demand for orthopedic services in the area. The hospital performs about 2,500 per year, and more than half of those are inpatient, overnight procedures, including many total hip and knee replacements.

“The second floor is also being worked on right now,” Millard said. “It is expected to be complete 30 or 45 days after the ER ... sometime in mid to early September.” 

The hospital has also recently received approval from the state Department of Health for yet another project — the addition of two operating rooms and the renovation of the eight existing ones.

The new rooms will be 600 square feet, bigger than most of the existing eight, and will be added to the rows of operating rooms on the first floor near the center of the hospital. 

Millard said the need for more space was the main motivator for the project, as there is a lot of equipment needed for robotic surgeries and other procedures. 

The project will cost $3.8 million and will be complete in the first quarter of 2014. 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter at @JessicaLBagley