Hospital board approves $189 million building plan for future growth

April 27, 2005
WILMINGTON – New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Board of Trustees voted Tuesday night to move forward with a $189 million expansion plan that will create nearly all private rooms in the patient tower.

The plan also calls for a separate, four-story women’s and children’s hospital, a new surgical pavilion with 30 operating rooms, a complete renovation to the existing patient tower that will extend its lifespan another 30 years, and an expanded emergency department.

The Women’s and Children’s Hospital would be a new four-story building in the area of the current Cameron Entrance, leaving the rehab hospital where it sits now. The building will include all private rooms for Pediatrics, Neonatal Transitional, Neonatal Intensive Care, Pediatric Intensive Care, Labor and Delivery, Post-Partum, Mother/Baby and general women’s rooms. It will also include some retail space like a gift shop and a women’s boutique.

Surgery expansion plans include a building a surgical pavilion in the area of the current ASU parking lot, complete with it’s own covered entrance. It would include 30 new operating rooms, an increase from the current 23 ORs plus seven more for endoscopy. The PACU, preparation and recovery areas would have 100beds and the entire facility will be load bearing on top in case future years would require further expansion.

Improving inpatient flow requires a complete renovation of the tower. The proposed renovation will prepare the tower for the next 30 years and will include all private rooms except for five. One room on five floors will be able to convert to semi-private while 373 rooms are dedicated as private, bringing the medical center to its full licensed capacity of 769 beds.

Changing to all private rooms provides a safer, more private environment for patients while easing the process of finding appropriate beds for patients. It also accounts for the additional cost to the overall expansion project, bringing the total to $189.8 million.

The Emergency Department expansion calls for it to be grow more toward the center of the building into the Outpatient Services Unit, bringing it close to imaging services, which will backfill the vacated OR space. The Coastal Heart Center will likely have its own entrance from near the outside of the ED, allowing for easier patient access and better outpatient flow through all these areas.

CEO Jack Barto told members of the board that the hospital can afford this project and, in fact, really can’t afford not to do it because the volume of patients being treated requires this added space to meet their needs.