Emergency service sees higher volume
LAFAYETTE — Another renovation and expansion of Lafayette General Medical Center begins later this month and includes a new four-story addition to house upgraded emergency and surgical services and a six-story parking garage, said David Callecod, hospital president and CEO, on Monday.
The $52 million project includes a unique feature for Acadiana — a trauma elevator that will provide direct access from the hospital’s helipad to the new emergency department and operating suites to save “precious life-saving minutes” for trauma patients, Callecod said.
Groundbreaking on the four-story addition is set for 10 a.m. Monday. The project is expected to be complete by summer 2014, Callecod said.
Last year, the hospital completed a two-year, $70 million renovation that expanded patient rooms and modernized the building’s façade.
The new surgical and emergency department expansion will front South College Road and add 82,000 square feet to the hospital. The expansion will feature 13 state-of-the-art operating rooms and will increase emergency department bed capacity from 31 to 45. Two new trauma rooms also will be added.
The expansions were needed to keep up with patient demand and emerging technologies, Callecod said.
“We currently have a hodgepodge of different-sized (operating rooms) that make it very difficult, functionally, to do the high acute cases,” he said.
He said the operating suites were designed in the 1960s and only two of them are large enough to schedule surgeries using the hospital’s new robotic surgical technologies.
The hospital hasn’t earmarked a new purpose for the 24,000 square feet occupied by the surgical department.
Patient visits to the hospital’s emergency department have grown nearly 43 percent in the past five years, according to hospital data.
The hospital’s emergency department volume places it as “one of the five busiest emergency departments in the state of Louisiana,” Callecod said.
The emergency department saw nearly 60,000 patients in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, and 64,000 patients are projected to seek services this fiscal year, Callecod said.
“We’ve had exponential growth in the ER,” he said. “This is going to position us to meet the growing need of the community.”
The project was designed by WHLC Architecture, the same firm that designed the hospital’s recent renovation. The Lemoine Co. is the project’s contractor and the project’s interior designer is Marie Olivier Lukaszeski.
A new six-story parking garage will provide 343 additional spaces and fill nearly half a parking area adjacent to the Heymann Performing Arts Center that the hospital now leases from the city. As part of its lease agreement with the city, the new parking garage will be accessible at no charge to patrons of the Heymann Center, said Daryl Cetnar, the hospital’s community relations director.
During construction, visitor parking will be available across Coolidge Street at the Burden-Riehl Center parking garage. Temporary employee parking will be in a lot located off of PASA Lane on the other side of the Heymann Center and shuttle service will be provided.
The garage will house the utilities for the new four-story building, enabling future high-rise expansion of the hospital, Callecod said.
Such a future expansion would increase bed space from 401 beds to 545 beds, which would make the hospital the third largest in the state, he said.