Erie hospital unveils $111 million expansion project
By David Bruce firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Dec 15, 2016 at 10:42 AM Updated Dec 15, 2016 at 4:11 PM
UPMC Hamot to build seven-story patient care tower at site of current Hamot Professional Building.
UPMC Hamot is building a $111 million, seven-story patient care tower, the latest in a series of expansion and renovation projects at the Erie hospital.
The new building will be located at 104 E. Second St., where the Hamot Professional Building currently stands. The professional building will be razed and construction on the tower will begin in early 2018.
Offices currently located in the professional building will be moved elsewhere on the Hamot campus.
“We have been evaluating our needs and came to the decision about the need for more critical-care infrastructure,” Hamot President Jim Fiorenzo said.
One reason is that smaller hospitals in the region are consolidating their services and referring more of their sickest patients to larger hospitals like Hamot, Fiorenzo said. That includes the former WCA Hospital in Jamestown, N.Y., which joined UPMC on Dec. 1 and is now UPMC Chautauqua WCA.
“Our patient census is up 13 percent from a year ago, and we are receiving more transfers of critically ill patients from outlying hospitals,” Fiorenzo said.
The new tower will include 64 intensive care unit beds, along with an expansion of the hospital’s imaging department, upgrades to the central plant and shell space for future needs. Hamot’s 42 ICU beds will be converted into a post-anesthesia care unit and procedural rooms.
The $111 million project is the largest in Hamot’s history and will be paid through the UPMC Fund. It will bring the total given to Hamot projects to nearly the $300 million UPMC officials promised when Hamot joined the Pittsburgh-based health system in 2011, said David Gibbons, Hamot’s chief operating officer.
“UPMC is committed to Hamot’s growth, as we saw with the creation of kidney transplant services here at Hamot and bringing in our own obstetrics services,” Gibbons said.
The new tower will be fully connected to both the main hospital and Magee-Women’s — UPMC Hamot, the former Hamot Women’s Hospital that opened in 2011 and cost $46 million to build. A tunnel currently connects Magee-Women’s — UPMC Hamot to the main hospital.
The hospital is also completing a $30 million renovation to its south complex, which will include new operating rooms that will be finished in spring 2017. A renovated and expanded main lobby that cost $5 million was completed in July.
Other recent projects include creation of Children’s Hospital Specialty Care Center — Erie inside Magee-Women’s — UPMC Hamot in 2015, and renovations to the emergency department’s trauma bays in 2013.
Besides providing more beds for Hamot’s sickest patients, the new tower will also make transporting those patients a little easier, Gibbons said.
“It will minimize the time it takes to move ICU patients from the operating room to their ICU bed,” Gibbons said. “We won’t have to put them in an elevator anymore.”
Hamot is razing the professional building instead of renovating it because it would cost more to bring it up to hospital building standards, Gibbons said.
The new tower is scheduled to open in late 2020.
David Bruce can be reached at 870-1736 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNbruce.