Friday, October 22, 2004

Good Sam starts tower



By Tim Bonfield
Enquirer staff writer

[photo]
Groundbreakng is today for Good Samaritan Hospital's new 10-story patient tower, scheduled for completion in 2007.
Provided
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS - Good Samaritan Hospital breaks ground today on a 10-story patient care tower - the biggest part of a five-year, $122 million renovation and expansion project.

The $63 million tower, to be built off the front of the hospital along Dixmyth Avenue, is expected to be complete in early 2007. Combined with internal renovations, the project will add nearly 90 beds to the 424-bed hospital, plus more than $23 million worth of new medical equipment.

It will increase the heart care competition among area hospitals by creating a revamped heart and vascular care center, to open in January.

It will add more operating rooms and cardiac catheterization labs. And it will expand the region's largest maternity service, which already delivers about 6,300 babies a year.

"We're projecting that we'll reach 7,000 births within the next several years. That's like a small town being born every year," said Steve Schwalbe, TriHealth's vice president of strategic planning.

The project is the first major expansion in nearly 20 years for one of Cincinnati's largest and oldest hospitals.

"Our continuing mission to serve the community means that it's time for us to reinvest in the facility," said John Prout, president and chief executive of TriHealth.

The hospital group also runs Bethesda North Hospital in Montgomery.

Good Samaritan's expansion is one response among area hospitals to the growing health care demands of a steadily aging city.

By 2008, TriHealth officials project a 16 percent increase in people aged 45 to 65 who live in the 50 ZIP codes most frequently served by Good Samaritan.

The first parts of the renovation project began about a year and a half ago. When complete, the project will add 175,000 square feet, will have renovated another 75,000 square feet and will add more than 200 parking spaces.

Overall bed capacity will grow from 424 to 511 adult beds. The number of operating rooms will grow from 18 to 22. And cardiac catheterization labs - where patients get tests and treatments for heart disease - will grow from three to five.

Other health projects

Good Samaritan's $122 million project is one of the largest medical construction projects in the region. Other large projects include:

• In Corryville, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is building an 11-story, $115 million research tower that could add more than 1,000 jobs to the city.

 Also in Corryville, the University of Cincinnati Medical Center broke ground earlier this month on its $109.5 million Center for Academic and Research Excellence. In addition to the nine-story tower, to be completed by 2007, UC's existing medical sciences building will be renovated for another $50 million.

• Middletown Regional Hospital plans to break ground next year on its long-planned $125 million medical complex east of the Interstate 75/Ohio 122 interchange.

• In Northern Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Medical Center has pumped more than $60 million into a new patient tower in Edgewood to be completed in 2006 and plans to spend more than $5 million converting its Covington hospital into a center for emergency care, outpatient diagnostic testing and other services.

• In Lebanon, TriHealth plans to begin work this year on a $33 million project to move the Bethesda Warren County emergency service to a 34-acre medical campus a few miles away. Other services could include outpatient surgery and a diagnostic center.  In Butler County, a $16 million surgical hospital at University Pointe was completed last month. Construction also has started on a second medical office building at the 75-acre campus. Work on two more medical offices and an expanded cancer treatment center are slated to start within a year.

E-mail tbonfield@enquirer.com




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