Sign moved for expansion

Hospital project to add operating rooms, new elevator

Despite several days of rainfall last month, construction of a new 82,000-square-foot expansion of Lafayette General Medical Center’s emergency and surgical departments is on schedule for an April 2014 completion, project manager Marie Lukaszeski said Monday morning.

Since October, construction crews with The Lemoine Co. have smashed the hospital’s former parking lot and installed electrical and plumbing infrastructure for the addition, Lukaszeski said.

Next month, concrete will be poured for the first floor foundation, she said.

Shortly thereafter, the public will see cranes on the site again to install the steel work for the exterior framework of the addition, she added.

The construction project also involves a new trauma elevator with access to the hospital’s helicopter pad for faster transportation of patients in critical condition in need of surgery or the emergency department, Lukaszeski said.

To prepare for the trauma elevator construction, the Lafayette General sign was removed Monday morning from its 10-story west tower that faces College Road.

The 30-foot wide, 12-foot high, green and white sign bore the hospital’s name and its logo. The sign is too large to incorporate into the new construction, said Daryl Cetnar, the hospital’s community relations director.

The sign will be “retired” and an “updated version” will be affixed to the exterior wall of the trauma elevator tower, Lukazeski said.

The addition of the direct-access trauma elevator is unique to Lafayette General; no other hospital in the Acadiana area has the feature, hospital officials said.

“It will also access every patient floor to move patients more seamlessly from surgery,” Lukaszeski said.

The elevator will be accessible only by hospital staff, offering patients more privacy as they’re transported from surgery or emergency departments to an inpatient room, she said.

The four-story addition will provide 13 state-of-the-art operating rooms and will increase emergency department bed capacity.

Renovations to the existing emergency department will begin in April 2014, once the four-story project is complete. Renovations are expected to be complete by August 2014, Lukaszeski said.

The project also includes construction of a six-story parking tower adjacent to the addition. The parking project will begin in August and wrap up in April, Lukaszeski said.

In 2011, the hospital completed a two-year, $70 million renovation project that modernized its exterior façade with a white paint finish and glass walls. Patient rooms also were enlarged.

The removal of the hospital’s marquee sign Monday revealed a peek of the building’s original red brick. Painters filled the blank space with a coat of white finish to match the rest of the building Monday, Lukaszeski said.