This is an archived article. For the latest news, go to the Advance Homepage
For more archives, go to the Advance Archive/Search Page.

  October 7, 2002

Plans Going Ahead for Building to House
New Surgicenter, Musculoskeletal Institute
By Kristina Goodnough

Plans are going ahead for the construction of a new 100,000-square-foot building to house an ambulatory surgery center and provide a home for the Health Center's latest initiative, a musculoskeletal institute.

The new ambulatory surgery center is a joint venture between John Dempsey Hospital and Health Resources International, an international health care management firm. It will include five operating rooms, space for pre- and post-anesthesia care, and room for administrative and business offices, and will be managed by HRI.

Image: Rendering of Surgicenter Building
An architect's rendering of the new building planned for the Surgicenter and Musculoskeletal Institute of the Health Center.

Rendering By Flad & Associates

The Musculoskeletal Institute, which will take up the bulk of the new building - more than 60,000 square feet - is a new initiative for the Health Center that will incorporate clinical, research, and academic programs in musculoskeletal health.

"We are absolutely delighted to be moving forward with this project," says Dr. Peter Deckers, executive vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. "This building will be the centerpiece of the Health Center's new Musculoskeletal Institute, which will expand our research in bone biology, biomaterials , biomechanics, arthritis, and orthopedics, including sports medicine and joint replacement."

The institute is a key component of the Health Center's strategic plan, which emphasizes linking areas of research excellence with clinical and education programs.

The Health Center and HRI received a certificate of need last spring for the ambulatory surgery center from the state Office of Health Care Access. The certificate is necessary before health care facilities are permitted to develop, expand, or close certain services, and when more than $1 million will be spent on a capital project. The new ambulatory surgery center is estimated to cost about $5.6 million.

The new center will make it possible for the Health Center to expand and upgrade its operating room capacity. The current operating facilities, built in 1972, have reached capacity, and renovation would require taking some of the rooms out of operation temporarily.

"We want to improve our surgery facilities, but we don't want to reduce our current level of service to the community," says Dr. Steven Strongwater, associate dean for clinical affairs and director of John Dempsey Hospital. "Once the ambulatory surgery center is operational, we can begin to make improvements to existing operating rooms. The renovations will enable us to accommodate new technologies."

Inpatient surgery at John Dempsey Hospital grew 24 percent between 1998 and 2001, while ambulatory surgery grew 33 percent during the same time.

"We foresee a continuing increase in the need for ambulatory surgery because of demographics and the changing nature of medicine," Strongwater says.

Groundbreaking for the building, which will be located on the lower campus near the Administrative Services Building, is expected to occur in the spring, according to Allen Hecht, president of HRI. The building is scheduled to be completed and occupied in the spring of 2004.

Issue Index