The Westerville Planning Commission delayed a vote Monday on a site plan modification that would allow OhioHealth to add a third building with emergency services to its Westerville campus.

The Westerville Planning Commission delayed a vote Monday on a site plan modification that would allow OhioHealth to add a third building with emergency services to its Westerville campus.

"The commission had some concerns about access to the site and wanted more information on the helipad," Westerville city planner Lisa LaMantia said.

The commission chose to table the vote until its November meeting to allow OhioHealth to provide more information about its plans, LaMantia said.

OhioHealth plans to add a third building - the current structure is considered two conjoined buildings - to its Westerville campus.

The $20-million building would be 48,000 square feet. The two-story structure would contain full-service emergency services on its first floor with offices on the second floor, said Jean Halpin, director of operations for OhioHealth's Westerville campus.

The emergency department would be fully equipped to handle any patient, Halpin said. More severe patients, such as those with heart attacks, would be transferred to other hospitals.

"Anything that walks through the door, we'll be able to triage," Halpin said.

Plans call for an 18,000-square-foot emergency department that will be open 24 hours a day and will have 16 patient beds and four observation beds. It will be able to accommodate 20,000 patients a year, with room for growth, Halpin said.

There will be a helipad on site, she said, but the hospital expects to see four flights or fewer per year.

On the building's second story, Halpin said the hospital plans to offer expanded cardiology services, with more cardiologists who would aid heart patients in dealing with all aspects of heart disease, including wellness, prevention, diagnostics and chronic disease management, Halpin said.

"That management of (heart-attack patients') heart disease really becomes their challenge, so we're really looking at that continuum," she said.

The expanded services will add 80 full-time employees to the campus when the additional building opens, and that number will increase to 135 over the first five years of the building's opening, Halpin said. That will increase taxable salaries for the city by $6.6-million, she said.

There currently are 300 full-time employees at the Westerville campus, 100 of whom are employed by OhioHealth and 200 of whom are employed by private practices located within the buildings.

Halpin said the expansion is in line with original plans for the campus, which opened in January 2009, but OhioHealth has changed the orientation of the campus. The new plans call for orienting buildings along Polaris Parkway rather than along Africa Road in order to decrease the impact on nearby residences, condense the campus' services and increase the visibility of the campus.

"We wanted it to be along Polaris, especially for the emergency department, for people to be able to see where they were going," Halpin said.

Even with the expansion, the campus will sit on only 22 of 43 acres owned by OhioHealth at the site. However, Halpin said, the upcoming expansion is the only one planned at this time.

"The additional 21 acres, it's still zoned residential," Halpin said. "For right now, we're just focusing on these 22 acres."

She said commission approval of OhioHealth's proposal at the Oct. 25 meeting would have allowed the company to begin work on the expansion within 60 days.

On a problem-free timeline, Halpin said, the expansion should be opened in January 2012.