Saint Mary's to finish third floor at Lacks

July 11, 2009
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Saint Mary’s Health Care is seeking state approval for a $5.7 million build-out of the third floor of the Lacks Cancer Center that will allow all of the hospital’s inpatient rooms to become private.

Twenty-nine beds would be moved from the main hospital’s sixth floor to 27,340 square feet of shelled space in Lacks, according to the hospital’s letter of intent filed with the Michigan Department of Community Health’s Certificate of Need division. One bed would come from the eighth floor.

“When the building (Lacks) was built, it was built with intention the project would be completed late, as we are transitioning all of our inpatients beds to private rooms,” Vice President for Strategic Advancement Debbie Stiemann said.

Some of the space had been utilized for flexible, temporary uses such as training, sleeping quarters for resident physicians, and for housing sample patient rooms as the Hauenstein Center was being planned, she said.

Progressive AE is the architect, and construction is anticipated to begin in February with a tentative completion date of October 2010, she added.

Other than a few rooms in the labor and delivery area, “for all intents and purposes we are bringing the campus to 100 percent” private rooms, Stiemann said.

“It certainly is a patient and family preference,” she said. The national trend toward private rooms also is cited as an infection control measure as well as an enhancement to medical privacy.

With the openings of the Lacks Cancer Center in 2005 and the Hauenstein Center earlier this year, Saint Mary’s acute care beds are being distributed across the three buildings. After the Lacks third floor is finished, the building will have 72 rooms for cancer and medical-surgical patients, the Hauenstein Center will have 62 beds for critical care and neurological and spinal cases, and the main hospital will have 81 beds, Stiemann said.

The emergency room also moved to the Hauenstein Center. The hospital’s main entrance has been re-oriented to Jefferson Street SE, although most will enter through the new parking garage at the corner of Jefferson and Lafayette Avenue SE.

The changes mean that Saint Mary’s will undergo an internal review of space utilization and plans, Stiemann said.

“We’re going through facilities planning to decide how to best use that main building in the future,” she said, as well as the space vacated when the emergency and trauma department moved this year.

Saint Mary’s previously announced it was planning enhancements to the entire campus area and nearby streets that could eventually create a stronger physical link between the Catholic hospital, owned by Trinity Health, and the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids.

Stiemann said those plans include replacing the parking and driveway off of Lafayette with a “green space” and possibly a new medical offices building next to 245 Cherry St. SE.

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