The new look of health care in our community begins its transition with a ground-breaking ceremony at 10 a.m. on June 29 at Mercy Hospital Jefferson.
In addition to a new three-story tower, featuring 90 private patient rooms, construction at the campus in Crystal City will also include a new front entrance and many other enhancements to improve the experience for patients and visitors.
“We are excited about delivering care for all of our patients in private rooms, and we believe other planned changes will significantly improve access and enhance the healing environment,” said Eric Ammons, president of Mercy Hospital Jefferson.
The new tower will be built on the south side of the current building and will have new corridors that connect the emergency department, imaging, surgical services and admitting areas. Once the new building opens, renovations will take place in the patient rooms in the existing building.
The main entrance facing Highway 61 will offer more than a new appearance. Relocated services and a direct route to visitor elevators are going make it much easier for everyone. Navigating the hospital now has its challenges, and the new design will make wayfinding less complicated.
McCarthy of St. Louis County is the general contractor for the project, and emphasis has been placed on using Jefferson County subcontractors when possible.
“We have talked to many local businesses about the project and have agreements with Sheet Metal Contractors of DeSoto, GWS Plumbing and Goodwin Brothers to provide construction services,” said project manager John Farnen, executive director of strategic projects for Mercy.
The overall cost of the project is estimated at more than $135 million, including about $80 million for the three-story patient tower. Relocation of the helicopter landing area, and ambulance entrance will be the first projects following the ground breaking.
“You’re probably not going to see the tower coming out of the ground until late this year or early next year,” Farnen said. “By late 2017 it should all be open.”
During the construction temporary entrances will be created while the new entries are built.
“A lot of the work will be in our main corridor, which will really help with access to services,” Farnen said. “All entries are being replaced or relocated, and every one will have a canopy.”
The construction project will bring an economic boost to the region.
“There will be a significant number of jobs during the construction and a lot of money spent in the community,” Farnen said. “We are buying material and lumber locally. When we bid projects, we ask for options with local businesses, and we give the contractors a list of other local subcontractors to invite.”
Each of the three floors of the new building will have 30 private patient rooms. Rather than centralized nursing stations, the new design puts the care staff closer to their patients.
“Private rooms have many benefits for patients, and easy accessibility for our co-workers to deliver exceptional care is a key component,” Ammons said. “The new design and enhanced technologies will provide an environment for co-workers to deliver personal attention to our patients and visitors.”
Efficiencies will also be gained by relocating services and the physician offices that provide specialized treatment to be in close proximity of one another.
“The patient care experience will be much improved,” Ammons said. “We are not only looking at the care we provide today, but how it will be delivered in the next 15 or 20 years as well. The project design incorporates a tremendous amount of input from patients, the community, our medical staff and our co-workers.”
Communicating with co-workers and the community throughout the construction is another big undertaking.
“Parking will be one of the biggest concerns right away. We are going to make sure the best and closest parking spots are available for our patients and visitors,” Ammons said.
When Mercy acquired Jefferson Regional Medical Center in 2013, the deal called for construction of the new building and private patient rooms within five years.
“Mercy has delivered on all of its promises,” said local hospital board chair Tonda Breeze. “We have added a new electronic medical records system, attracted many additional specialists and primary care physicians, and now have taken more steps toward an improved patient experience by beginning the conversion to private patient rooms.”
In addition to the new building Mercy will be adding improvements and expansion of its cancer treatment center including a new linear accelerator and aesthetic enhancements designed to improve the healing environment for patients.
“We are already one of the largest employers in the county and as we continue to grow and provide additional services, Mercy will be an important economic engine for the community,” Breeze said.