Tonawanda News — Kenmore Mercy unveiled its new $14-million emergency department Thursday afternoon at a ribbon cutting and blessing ceremony attended by hundreds of hospital officials, employees and politicians.
“The opening of the new emergency department is a significant milestone in the 62-year history of the hospital,” James Millard, Kenmore Mercy president and CEO said. “After several years of planning and hard work, we are pleased and excited to deliver on our commitment to our patients and the community.”
The facility, which sits on the south side of the hospital, was envisioned more than 10 years ago as part of Catholic Health’s $65-million effort to redo all of the emergency departments in the system.
“This is the last one, and they saved the best for last,” Reverend Monsignor Robert Zapfel, chair of the corporate members and sponsors board, said at the ceremony. “We learned from those that came before us.”
The process was officially started in March 2011, when the state granted the certificate of need for the hospital. Site preparation began in August 2011, and the groundbreaking took place in March 2012.
“We began designing this a few years ago,” Millard said. “And have meet every week for two, three, four hours ... we are here to celebrate our new facility and thank those who have worked so hard on it.”
The 24,000-square-foot unit, which was designed by Kideney Architects, is nearly two times larger than the original department, and the facility has 23 private patient treatment rooms. The new department is designed to handle 40,000 patient visits per year.
Raquel Martin, the medical director of Kenmore Mercy’s emergency department, said the facility also has a fast-track area for patients with minor medical problems, such as sore throats and lacerations.
“Up until now, those patients were always treated after those with more urgent medical emergencies,” she said. “But now, their wait time will be decreased.”