The $42.5 million project scheduled to open in early February

By William K. Alcorn


Salem Community Hospital is putting the finishing touches on its new $42.5 million private-patient-room tower, which will be ready for admissions Feb. 4, hospital officials said.

The ceremonial groundbreaking for the expansion project was July 10, 2012; the topping-out ceremony, when a signed beam is placed at the top of the structure, was March 22 this year.

The building’s structure will be completed by the end of December, and plans are underway to relocate the services needed to transition patients and visitors into the new building in January.

The 169,700-square-foot tower, designed by the architectural firm of Wilmot Sanz, has 87 private- patient rooms on three floors, including 27 rooms on the first floor for the intensive care and step-down care units; 30 rooms on the second floor for surgical patients, four of which are designed to also accommodate pediatric patients; and 30 rooms on the third floor for medical/surgical patients.

The tower also has two levels of enclosed parking and other amenities, including concourse seating, a coffee kiosk and gift shop, hospital officials said.

“The project is on schedule, and we should be able to receive the certificate of occupancy by the end of December, which will enable us to launch the advance preparations needed to relocate our patients from existing patient-care units to their new private rooms in February,” said Jerry Wheeler II, director of plant operations.

A bed-tower transition team has been meeting regularly for several months to develop plans that address the needs of patients, visitors and staff during the move, said team leader Barbara Hirst, vice president of nursing and human resources.

A community open house is tentatively planned for the end of January.

“Our entire hospital team is looking forward to the opening of the new patient tower in February 2014. The tower will offer private rooms for our medical and surgical patients, along with enhancing the comfort, safety and healing environment for our patients and their families,” said Dr. Anita Hackstedde, president and chief executive officer of Salem Community Hospital.

“The opening of the new private-patient-room tower further demonstrates our commitment to serving the region as a strong, independent hospital where area residents can receive advanced, high-quality care complemented by innovation and state-of-the-art technology,” Dr. Hackstedde added.

The completion of the new patient tower comes on the heels of Salem Community Hospital’s 100th anniversary celebration Sept. 13. More than 150 community leaders attended the event, which featured guest speaker Earle Bruce, former head football coach at Ohio State University.

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