Staff from Northwestern Medical Center gathered Tuesday, September 6 to officially break ground on a long-awaited project to overhaul the hospital’s Emergency Department.
Interim Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Billings welcomed the crowd by noting the moment as a historic one for NMC as the project has been in planning for many years and the start being delayed for two years by the COVID-19 pandemic.
NMC’s Board President Jake Holzscheiter spoke about how important the renovation is for the community, bringing increased privacy for patients, increased treatment capacity and better spaces to care for patients who may experience mental health issues.
ED Physician Marc Kutler said the project will be welcomed by staff as well as by the community – with the project being a much-deserved update to a busy department. ED Director JoAnn Manahan, RN also expressed excitement about finally getting started on the delayed project which increases privacy, safety and efficiency.
The $11 million renovation will renovate 9,500 square feet of space and add 2,400 square feet. The addition of space means the ED moves from 14 treatment to 20. The new design will also increase capacity for patients experiencing mental health issues, offering four dedicated rooms for those community members whereas the current ED space only has one such room. Additionally, the new space will have greater capacity to provide negative pressure to help provide greater infection control measures in the ED.
The first phase of the project consists of renovation of NMC’s closed inpatient unit so that it can be used as a temporary Emergency Department while the permanent ED is renovated. Those renovations are now underway, and the move to the temporary space will come in early January of 2023.