BOARDMAN - Work on the new patient tower at St. Elizabeth Health Center here is ahead of schedule and expected to be complete within a year, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Humility of Mary public relations specialist Sally Hammel said the project, originally budgeted at $103.7 million, also is under budget, but she declined to say by how much.
Construction crews could be seen working this week in the frame of the seven-floor tower attached to the existing hospital at the corner of Market Street and McClurg Road in southern Boardman. Targeted for initial completion are the first two floors which will house four additional operating rooms, obstetrics, maternity and an Akron Children's Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU.
Tribune Chronicle / Brenda J. Linert
Workers construct a new patient tower at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Boardman.
The additional floors will open as they are completed and as demand dictates. Hospital officials anticipate opening one additional floor per year.
Hammel said moving maternity and the Akron Children's NICU from the downtown Youngstown campus to the Boardman campus will create more space in the Youngstown facility for renovations to add more private patient rooms there.
With the push toward increasing the number of private patient rooms, which Hammel said provides more patient comfort as well as improved care, Hammel said Humility of Mary also is anticipating privatizing more patient rooms at the health care system's St. Joseph Health Center in Warren.
The Boardman hospital opened in August 2007 with the intention of adding the new tower within 10 years, Hammel said.
"They built it knowing it was going to be expanded. The footprint was already there for this second tower," Hammel said. "But they figured it would be part of the hospital's 10-year plan."
Instead, construction began in just five years due largely to patient demand, she said.
Other projects in the Boardman budget include upgrades to radiology and the emergency department.