Get a glimpse of LMH’s proposed $93 million west Lawrence center; hospital updates services planned for facility

LMH has released preliminary exterior renderings for it proposed $93 million west Lawrence outpatient center. The top rendering is of the west facade of the building that would face the South Lawrence Trafficway. The second rendering is the eastern facade, while the smaller renderings show the north and south views.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital board members on Wednesday got their first look at a proposed design for a nearly $100 million west Lawrence outpatient medical building, and were told the project is set to break ground in June.

Hospital leaders showed board members a set of preliminary exterior designs for the approximately 200,000-square-foot facility that will be built near the Rock Chalk Park sports complex in northwest Lawrence.

“There are a lot of moving parts to this still, and lots of work still underway, but we feel like the design is moving along really well,” said Russ Johnson, president and CEO of LMH.

Karen Shumate, chief operating officer for LMH, said the design and construction team led by Kansas City-based McCownGordon Construction is optimistic the project will receive necessary approvals from the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission in April. That would allow the project to break ground on June 1, Shumate said. LMH hopes the facility will be open in early 2020.

Shumate also said hospital leaders have modified the types of services expected to be in the building. Originally, hospital leaders were considering an urgent care center in the facility, which would be able to treat some minor emergency cases. While LMH operates its emergency department at its main campus at Third and Maine streets, it does not operate an urgent care center anywhere in the community.

Shumate said hospital leaders decided they weren’t yet ready to enter that market, but they are leaving space available in the building to add an urgent care center at a later date.

The latest list of services planned for the building include:

• An enlarged Lawrence Surgery Center to conduct outpatient surgery procedures.

• An “orthopedic center of excellence” that will be run by the staff of OrthoKansas, which has been purchased by LMH.

• An expanded LMH Breast Center, including new clinical space for Dr. Dawn Jones.

• An LMH Therapy practice, which will focus on sports rehabilitation services.

• Doctor’s offices for the Internal Medicine Group.

• Doctor’s offices for the Mt. Oread Family Practice group.

• Office for Plastic Surgery Specialists of Lawrence.

• Medical office space that LMH will lease to a variety of specialty physicians.

• A retail pharmacy that will be operated by a third party. LMH hasn’t yet announced a partner for the pharmacy.

• A food court and rooftop garden to accommodate the more than 1,000 patients and staff who are expected to be on the site daily.

The new facility won’t offer any inpatient services that would require an overnight stay. All inpatient services will continue to be done at LMH’s hospital at Third and Maine. Johnson has said the west Lawrence building isn’t designed to become a second hospital for Lawrence but rather is meant to give LMH a stronger place in the outpatient medical services market, which has become more competitive as the KU hospital system has opened an office in west Lawrence.

The project will be built on 20 acres of property near the South Lawrence Trafficway and Sixth Street interchange in northwest Lawrence. Specifically, it is on property that is kitty-corner from KU’s tennis facility at Rock Chalk Park sports complex.

The hospital plans to pay for the $93 million project with a combination of cash and debt. Board members were told that the hospital plans to issue $72 million to $77 million in bonds in May. The city of Lawrence technically will issue the bonds, as the city is the ultimate owner of the hospital. The hospital will be responsible for paying off the bonds, using revenue from the new facility and cash reserves.

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