Mount Carmel St. Ann's expansion
Garage done; roads, tower up next
The shell of a four-story tower stands behind Mount Carmel St. Ann's Hospital, and a three-tiered parking deck has opened -- signs of progress in the Westerville hospital's Project GRACE.
The expansion, for which ground was broken a year ago, marks a $110-million investment in the 30-year-old hospital. It's the largest ever renovation investment by Mount Carmel.
By the time the renovation and expansion are complete in 2014, the Cleveland Avenue hospital campus will have a new four-story patient tower, an expanded dining facility, the new parking garage and a two-story main entrance that will be reoriented to face Schrock Road.
"Everything is going according to plan, and it's wonderful when that happens," said St. Ann's President Janet Meeks.
With the 130,000-square-foot parking garage completed, attention now will turn to realigning the internal road system on the hospital campus and on reconstructing and expanding the food-service areas, Meeks said.
"The kitchen that we're using is the original kitchen from (when the hospital opened in) 1984, when we had 90 beds," Meeks said.
The new dining area will have a larger kitchen, as well as a larger dining room, with different "zones," where diners can eat in a coffee-shop-like setting, a more formal dining area, or a fast-casual area, Meeks said.
When the new dining area is complete early next year, the hospital also will offer new food services and a new menu.
"It's at that point, we'll be offering made-to-order room service," Meeks said. "Our chefs are taking it to a higher level. They're experimenting with herbs and spices to see how you can make even a low-sodium diet taste better than you would expect a hospital to."
The hospital also is preparing for the new patient rooms in the new tower.
Two mock rooms have been constructed in the hospital, and hospital personnel have been exploring the rooms and leaving feedback on how they could be better set up.
"We've had employees and physicians come in and leave, literally, hundreds of Post-It notes," Meeks said. "We wanted to make sure we get it right on two rooms before we build 60."
When the patient tower opens in 2014, it will include two new operating rooms, allowing the hospital once again to expand its cardiac services to offer open-heart surgery.
In working on the Project GRACE expansion, Mount Carmel St. Ann's has looked at how the hospital might grow in the future, creating a master plan with more office buildings along Cleveland Avenue, the potential for three more floors atop the new bed tower and a building at the corner of Cooper and Schrock roads.
Beyond the abstract master plan, however, hospital officials have not begun to look in a more detailed way at how the hospital could continue to grow, Meeks said.
"From the very beginning, St. Ann's was about meeting community need," she said. "That's what we'll do is continue that legacy of listening to the community and meeting those needs."