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St. David’s South Austin Medical Center plans $58 million expansion


Highlights

Project will expand emergency department; add patient beds, parking, to meet growing demand.

Expansion will create 50 new jobs initially, a number expected to double within five years.

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center said it plans to start construction this year on a $58 million expansion that will mean added facilities, increased services and new jobs.

The project will include expanding the hospital’s emergency department, adding patient rooms and beds and creating additional parking at the medical center, 901 West Ben White Boulevard.

Construction is expected to start in mid 2017 and wrap up in early 2019, Steward said.

“To support the increased services resulting from this expansion, the hospital will initially hire 50 new full-time employees, with the expectation that the number of positions will double within five years,” Todd Steward, chief executive officer of St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, said in a written statement to the American-Statesman.

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center is part of St. David’s HealthCare, one of the largest health care systems in Texas. The hospital has about 300 beds and employs about 1,650 people. The majority of the new jobs will be nursing and other patient-care positions.

Originally, the capital investment for the project totaled $50 million, but the amount increased by $8 million to include an expansion of the existing parking garage, hospital officials said. St. David’s officials are evaluating several options that could result in six to seven new parking garage floors and 560 to 718 new parking spaces.

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center is in the “construction design phase” of the expansion project, a stage that includes developing construction documents and architectural plans, and submitting a site plan to the city of Austin. St. David’s has chosen DPR Construction as the general contractor.

With growth in areas including oncology and trauma at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, as well growth in South Austin generally, “the hospital was in need of an expansion,” Steward said.

“As the region grows, it is important to have more physical space to serve our rapidly expanding patient population,” Steward said. “This expansion underscores the demand for healthcare that exists in the South Austin community—and how we’re planning and building to meet that demand.”

St. David’s emergency department has the largest volume in Central Texas, serving about 110,000 patients a year, Steward said. With the addition of trauma capabilities, the complexity of many cases has increased, he said.

To handle the growing volume, the hospital will increase the size of its emergency department by nearly 14,000 square feet, including adding 16 beds and expanding other support functions in the emergency services area, Steward said.

The expansion also calls for adding two floors in the medical center’s south tower.

The first floor will add 26,000 square feet, including a new medical/surgical unit with 34 beds. The second floor will create an additional 26,000 square feet for future development.

In addition to its long-term needs, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center has been addressing constraints in its emergency department and inpatient units on a short-term basis with two projects:

The hospital recently built and opened a $2.5-million, 14-bed unit for patients who are being observed for shorter periods of time to determine if they need to be admitted, and the hospital also invested $200,000 to create a waiting area for less acute patients in its emergency department. This area includes four bays where patients with minor emergencies and conditions can be treated rapidly.



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