- change ups
Heart Tower Taking Shape
GRAND RAPIDS — With state approval secured, Spectrum Health plans to break ground this fall on the latest addition to its growing downtown campus: an $88.4 million cardiac hospital.
Construction of the seven-story Heart and Vascular Center will take two-plus years to complete, with occupancy targeted for late 2003 or early 2004. The center is planned for a parcel on the southwest corner of Michigan Street and Barclay Avenue, adjacent to Spectrum's Musculoskeletal Center.
"It will be a significant addition to the landscape and frankly our service offerings," said Bill Rietscha, Spectrum's vice president of operations.
The Michigan Department of Community Health late last month cleared the way for Spectrum to proceed with the project when it issued a certificate of need.
The "heart tower," as it's commonly known, represents a major step toward consolidating inpatient medical services at the downtown Grand Rapids campus following the 1997 merger between Butterworth Hospital and Blodgett Memorial Medical Center that forged Spectrum.
Spectrum's initial plans were to use the former Blodgett site, now known as the East Campus, for outpatient services and elective surgeries.
Spectrum is nearing completion on a long-range plan for the East Campus, which Rietscha calls a "very viable" part of the health system that will remain a full-service hospital for years to come.
"The East Campus remains a very essential and very viable part of the future of the organization," he said. "We're talking about how best to mix uses at both campuses."
Spectrum's new Heart and Vascular Center, meanwhile, will house cardiac operating rooms, catheterization labs, a 40-bed intensive care floor, and a medical-surgical floor with 48 telemetry-equipped beds. Spectrum will leave the new center's fifth floor unoccupied and plans to use the space in the future for a 40-bed critical care unit.
Spectrum, in seeking approval for the project, cited a growing need for cardiovascular services as the baby boomer generation ages, as well as a lack of space within its existing aging facilities to accommodate future needs. Spectrum indicated that the heart tower would add less than 2 percent to the system's average cost per admission.