The first phase of an approximately $50 million expansion project at Lawrence Memorial Hospital is scheduled to be completed by mid-July, hospital leaders were told Wednesday.
Work to build 18 private rooms on the upper floor of the hospital's west wing is on schedule. The new rooms will give patients and family members twice as much space as the shared rooms that they're replacing. The new rooms also will become the first patient rooms in the hospital wired for Internet access.
"We were getting requests all the time for that," said Janice Early-Weas, director of community relations for LMH.
Construction is expected to be done by mid-June, and the hospital expects to have the rooms fully equipped and open by mid-July. The new rooms will replace all the remaining shared patient rooms at the hospital.
Work on a new eastern wing for the hospital - which will include a new emergency room, 28 intensive care rooms and 11 additional birthing rooms - is about a month behind schedule because of the wet weather.
Skanda Skandaverl, director of facility management for LMH, said he was optimistic that crews would get back on schedule. The emergency room is expected to be completed in February, the intensive care unit in March and the birthing rooms in April.
Skandaverl also said construction on two intersections leading to the hospital could begin in the next 30 days. The intersections at the Fourth and Michigan streets and Fourth and Maine streets will be widened to accommodate right-turn lanes to ease traffic flow into and out of the hospital. The plans are under review by the city's Public Works Department.
Work also is wrapping up on a new parking lot on the hospital's west side. Skandaverl said final touches should be put on the new 120-space lot by the end of this week. The parking lot is just west of Arkansas Street.
Hospital board members were briefed on several other items at their Wednesday meeting, including:
¢ Plans to develop the hospital's approximately 20 acres near the southeast corner of Kansas Highway 10 and Church Street in Eudora. Hospital leaders are working on creating specific plans for the property that would show the size and location of a proposed medical office building. Hospital planners also will be considering how much, if any, of the property could be reserved for non-LMH uses. Hospital leaders confirmed that the site has drawn interest from several other area businesses that want to have a presence in Eudora. They declined to name those businesses.
Hospital attorney Andrew Ramirez also said an old home and barn on the site are now vacant, and likely would be removed in the next couple of weeks.
¢ The hospital will employ the community's first vascular surgeon. Dr. Scott Gard will begin practicing at LMH on June 1. Gard comes to Lawrence from the Cheyenne, Wyo., area. The vascular surgery practice will allow for procedures on aneurysms, circulation problems and other vascular conditions to be done in Lawrence. Currently, those surgical services are not offered at LMH.
¢ Hospital leaders are considering entering the McLouth medical market in Jefferson County. LMH board members told hospital staff to continue investigating a partnership with the McLouth Medical Clinic. The clinic is not staffed by a doctor, but rather is operated by an advanced registered nurse practitioner. The clinic already is investigating using Dr. Charles Yockey, an LMH physician, to serve as the consulting doctor for the clinic. But the board was told Wednesday that entering a formal partnership with the clinic might be a good way for LMH to expand its reach. The board is expected to discuss the issue again at its June meeting, after LMH staff members have reviewed the clinic's finances.
¢ Details are being finalized for a celebration June 22 to thank people and businesses that have donated to the hospital's capital campaign. Plans call for the celebration to be from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at LMH, 325 Maine. The hospital also is hosting a community-wide reception to update community members on new projects at the hospital. That event will be at 4:30 p.m. May 24 in the hospital's atrium area. A brief presentation will begin at 5:15 p.m.