By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Kenmore Mercy Hospital has recently received state approval for a planned multi-million dollar orthopedics unit — making it possible for the project to be complete at the same time as the new emergency department.
“We were very happy when we got that three weeks ago,” KMH President and CEO James Millard said. “It was a bit sooner than we had thought. We wanted to coordinate the construction, and it came in in plenty of time.”
Both are set to be finished this summer.
The $5.7 million orthopedics unit will be composed of a 15,300-square-foot facility, right above the emergency department on the south wing of the hospital.
The second-floor facility will house 24 spacious private rooms, a staff lounge and two nurse stations, as well as a rehabilitative gym for therapy purposes.
The decision to expand the unit came as a result of high demand for orthopedic services in the area. The hospital has performed 2,500 surgeries a year and over half of those are inpatient, overnight procedures, including a great deal of total hip and knee replacements.
“With the increased demand, we were able to get approval,” Millard said.
Millard said the bid for the project will likely go out within 45 days, with construction starting on the unit in early 2013.
There will be a joint grand opening of the units in June or July.
The new addition’s first floor will house a new and expanded emergency department. Ground was broken on that project in early spring.
The department will be able to accommodate 40,000 ER visits per year. The current department was built in the 1960s, and although it did undergo some renovations in the 1990s, it only has 18 rooms — compared to 25 in the new facility.
Apart from the rooms, it will also have a centralized nurses station, a drive-up ambulance bay, two resuscitation rooms and digital radiology equipment.
Millard was expecting 30,000 ER patients this year, but the hospital has already reached that figure with six weeks left to go in 2012.
Construction on the department is on schedule. Contractors are almost finished placing the steel — a job they have been doing for a few months.
“By winter, the building will be buttoned up,” Millard said.
Floors and ceilings have also recently been constructed, with workers pouring concrete most recently.
As the patient numbers increase, Millard said the hospital will hire more employees — as there is a set ratio of employees to patients that must be kept.
“We do anticipate adding employees,” he said.
As a result of the construction, the south roadway on hospital grounds will continue to be closed, as it hosts the staging area for construction. The sidewalk in front of the hospital is also currently closed.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.