As they broke ground for a 10-story, 545,000-square-foot patient care tower that will add 71 beds and eight operating rooms upon its 2019 completion, Lexington Medical Center executives emphasized the long-standing commitment to the community they said the new building continues.
Tod Augsburger, Lexington Medical Center president and CEO, traced the hospital’s history back to its initial 1968 groundbreaking in his remarks.
“Today, health care is changing dramatically across the country,” Augsburger said. “Many hospital systems are choosing to build and open new hospitals in faraway locations from their home, diversifying their services, as it were. Instead, Lexington Medical Center is choosing to demonstrate our commitment and our partnership to this community, our home. We are here to serve our friends and neighbors in this community.”
The new tower will house the bustling labor and delivery unit of the hospital, where more than 3,700 babies are born each year. The unit’s special care nursery will feature private rooms for newborns, which research has shown to provide better bonding between mothers and babies while lowering infection rates.
“Having those private rooms, that’s a big thing,” said Richard Westbrook, chairman of the Lexington Medical Center board, who said two of his three children were born at the hospital. “We’re excited for that, and additional surgical suites, so we can continue to care for more people. That’s really what it comes down to.”
Lexington Medical Center performed more than 19,000 surgeries last year. Augsburger said the eight new ORs will increase the hospital’s total to 39, including ambulatory surgery centers. The addition of 71 beds to the 428-bed hospital will give it the ability to care for more than 600 in-patients overnight.
The expansion will also add a 950-space parking garage and a central energy plant to support the new tower, which will also include a pharmacy serving the hospital as well as nearly 60 physician practices.
Westbrook said the new building will have an economic impact on the community, both in the Midlands businesses involved in the expansion and in additional clinical and support staff hired once it is completed.
Executives from Birmingham, Ala.-based contractors Brasfield & Gorrie, Chicago-headquartered architectural firm Perkins + Will, and Ohio-based Dynamix Engineering donned hard hats and turned a shovelful of dirt beside hospital officials in Monday’s ceremony.
“The people here at the hospital have been helpful with us, letting us know about certain key systems and how they work, and schedules,” said Gene Griffin, Dynamix president and CEO. “We have to make sure that the hospital stays in operation. We’re working very hard to coordinate with the existing systems so we don’t affect patient care or patient satisfaction during the construction.
“We’ve been doing it together as a team, and that’s why I think we’re going to have a lot of success here, because it’s been a team effort.”
Reach staff writer Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7543.