Date: 7/23/2007

Community Hospital’s groundbreaking for new Emergency Department and patient tower is Tuesday

MUNSTER — Community Hospital staff will gather to break ground Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. on a $32 million expansion that will double the capacity of the Emergency Department and create a new entrance and lobby for what will become a new patient tower featuring private rooms. The groundbreaking ceremony will take place outside of the Emergency Department located off of Calumet Avenue. Parking is available in the West Pavilion lot.

The project will take 19 months, during which time all hospital services will remain open, including the Emergency Department. The construction will require the closure of the West Pavilion Entrance. Beginning Monday, July 30, patients and visitors will be directed to use the Main and Outpatient Entrances where valet and wheel chair escort service will be available.

When the project is completed, the large access ramp to the West Pavilion will be eliminated; patients and visitors will walk in through the ground level to access services in the tower. Beginning in February, 2008, Community Hospital will begin a $10 million project to convert office space on the fifth and sixth floors into new private rooms. This project is expected to add more than 100 private patient rooms to Community Hospital — 50 in the West Pavilion and 50 semi-private rooms will be converted to private rooms in the hospital’s main patient tower.

The new home for the Emergency Department will be the first floor of a 56,000-square-foot, two-story pavilion to be built across the front of the hospital’s West Pavilion. It will feature two new entrances, one for walk-in patients and the other for emergency vehicles and cars. The present Emergency Department has only undergone one minor expansion since it opened in 1979.

The first floor of the new Emergency Department building will have 30 exam rooms with three walls and a curtained glass entrance for quiet and privacy, two specialty rooms for trauma and two OB rooms with private bathrooms, along with two x-ray rooms and a dedicated CT scan in the department for quicker assessment of patients. All rooms will be private and built larger to accommodate family visitation.

The second floor will feature 14 pre-admission beds where patients can be cared for comfortably while waiting to be admitted to the main hospital. The second floor also will contain mechanical equipment and will be structured so that if future needs arise, four more floors could be added to the building.

It has been nearly 10 years since the hospital has expanded its Munster campus. In May, the hospital began a $5 million expansion to add 25 private rooms to its Family Birthing Center.