Mount Carmel St. Ann's Hospital received approval from the Westerville Planning Commission June 22 to move forward with plans for a reconstructed main entrance and for a four-story tower.

Mount Carmel St. Ann's Hospital received approval from the Westerville Planning Commission June 22 to move forward with plans for a reconstructed main entrance and for a four-story tower.

The permission is contingent, however, on gaining the planning commission's approval of a new master plan within the next five months.

The June 22 approval was the third issued by the planning commission for the St. Ann's expansion, which also will include a reconfigured parking lot, a three-tier parking deck and expansions to the hospital's energy plant and food-service facility.

The new entry to the hospital will be relocated to the campus's south side. While cars will still come in off of Cleveland Avenue, the entrance will face Schrock Road.

The 12,372-square-foot entrance will be two stories high and will feature natural stone columns and a glass faade.

"The stone is something different than we've seen before in the hospital material," Westerville senior planner Bassem Bitar said. "It's a nice, rich, natural material and stands out from the brick. It should be very easy once you're on campus to realize where the entry is."

David Dryden, Mount Carmel vice president of design, construction and facilities, said the new entrance will attract hospital visitors to a central entrance, and once inside, visitors will have an easier time finding their way around.

"You come to a main reception desk, and you literally either turn left, turn right or go straight," Dryden said.

The new bed tower will be constructed on the hospital's east side, between the existing women's pavilion and the medical offices that front Cooper Road. The 111,230-square-foot tower will house an emergency-room chest pain unit, catheterization labs and 60 beds for cardiovascular patients.

The tower will be constructed of red brick to match the rest of the hospital, with stone columns to match the stone being used at the main entrance.

The expansion plan was unanimously approved with three conditions set by the city planning staff: The final access-point alignments and design details are subject to review and approval by the city engineer; the landscape plan must be finalized to the liking of the city staff; and details on the replacement of trees along the planned bike path must be included in the details of the hospital's master plan.

The same three conditions were attached to the previous approvals granted by the planning commission.

Commission members also added a stipulation that hospital officials must present a master plan and have it approved by the commission by the end of November.

The master plan would include details on greenspace, traffic patterns, landscaping and more, which the planning commission did not hash out during the approval of the expansion, under promises that a master plan would be coming.

Bitar said Mount Carmel St. Ann's expects to submit the master plan to the city staff in August for inclusion on the September planning commission agenda.

"This is very important to me that we have a master plan. I kind of feel like we are doing this backward," commission member Diane Fosselman said.

If the hospital does not have a master plan approved in time, Bitar said the city could withhold the building permits needed to move forward with construction.