Construction and Health Care

$48.9 million renovation proposed at Saint Mary’s

The hospital hasn’t had a major re-do in more than 20 years.

December 6, 2013
| By Pete Daly |
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Mercy Health Saint Mary’s hospital on Jefferson Avenue SE in Grand Rapids will undergo a $48,894,695 renovation starting in January, resulting in more than eight new jobs, if the required Certificate of Need is granted by the state this month.

The application on file with the Alliance for Health states it is a three-part proposed project, the largest being the replacement of 13 operating rooms at an estimated cost of $35,337,100. Inpatient rooms on part of the seventh and the eighth floor will be renovated at a cost of $8,297,713, while renovation of other inpatient rooms on the seventh floor will cost $5,259,882.

The Alliance for Health, which is charged by the Michigan Department of Community Health with providing local input on CON requests for hospitals in western Michigan, will meet Dec. 19 to evaluate the application.

The application was filed with the MDCH by Trinity Health – Michigan, part of a multi-state hospital system headquartered in Livonia that includes Mercy Health facilities in Grand Rapids, Byron Center, Cadillac, Grayling, Muskegon, Norton Shores and Shelby.

The application notes that Saint Mary’s has not undergone any major renovation for more than 20 years.

“Over the years, Saint Mary’s has not significantly altered its facilities, with the exception of construction of the Lacks Cancer Center” adjacent to it, said Lody Zwarensteyn, president of the Alliance for Health. He summarized the proposed project as a “comprehensive overhaul of the hospital itself, which will include redoing and expanding its operating rooms.”

Zwarensteyn said the application states the renovation of patient rooms is to meet current care standards and will include the addition of showers in each patient room bathroom. The rooms will also be enlarged to accommodate more medical equipment, and all will become private rooms with the exception of a couple that will house two patients. Zwarensteyn said some of the licensed patient beds in Saint Mary’s have been relocated to the Lacks Cancer Center, which allows room for enlargement of the remaining rooms in Saint Mary’s.

The hospital is proposing to renovate the entire 7-South and 8-South patient care units, a total of 23,437 square feet that currently includes 39 beds. The room-by-room renovation will be done sequentially to avoid disruption of patient care services. The changes will require hiring an additional 1.6 full-time equivalent nurses to care for 34 patients.

The other similar project will renovate the entire 7-North patient rooms unit, which encompasses about 16,634 square feet currently occupied by 26 medical-surgical beds. The changes will require the addition of a 0.9 full-time equivalent nurse.

The replacement of 13 operating rooms, plus some administrative offices and other types of rooms, will entail the renovation of 87,000 square feet on the first through fourth floors. The ORs will remain on the third floor. The main hospital lobby will also be renovated, with an enlarged entrance and driveway canopy. The changes on the first-through-fourth floors will require hiring an additional 6.3 full-time equivalent employees, mainly nurses and technician-specialists.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is proposing to pay for the project with tax-exempt bonds issued by Trinity Health – Michigan through the Michigan State Hospital Finance Authority.

A Mercy Health Saint Mary’s spokesperson said last week hospital executives would not comment on the proposed renovations prior to the Dec. 19 CON evaluation, when they will have more details to share with the public.

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