Downtown commitment: Deaconess plans expansion - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Downtown commitment: Deaconess plans expansion

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By Nicole DiDonato - bio | email
Posted by Rich Miller - email

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Deaconess Health Systems is expanding its downtown campus in Evansville and they say increasing the size of the emergency trauma center should mean more construction jobs for area workers.

With building already underway at Deaconess Gateway in Newburgh, hospital officials say there has been speculation they would abandon the downtown location. But instead, they say the upcoming project proves they're here to stay.

"Our emergency department has been undersized for the amount of patients we treat for some years," Deaconess Health System President and CEO Linda White said.

Hospital officials say they see about 15,000 patients more than what the treatment rooms were designed to accommodate.

As technology improves, officials say the size of their operating rooms must be larger. With that in mind, Deaconess is building on to its emergency trauma care center with a four-story,15,000 square-foot addition. 

"(This will) add seven treatment rooms for our very busy emergency department," White told 14 News.   "We'll be adding three new operating rooms on the second floor for surgery.  The third floor will be interstitial space because of the height of the ceilings in the operating room. On the fourth floor, we'll be adding new ICU's."

To make room, the intersection of Edgar and Columbia Street will close permanently. It will become part of the driveway and parking lot of the expanded emergency room.

The project mirrors the expansion already underway on tower two at Deaconess Gateway, but hospital officials believe upgrades to this main campus should serve as reassurance for the community.

"We're not abandoning this campus," said vice-president Bruce Epmeier.  "We're going to put $38 million back into this campus to take care of the needs for this part of the tri-state area."

Deaconess says all local contractors will be employed for this project.

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