OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital officials announced Aug. 30 they are planning a $20 million addition and renovation project.

According to a press release, the hospital -- in its 10th year of operation at 7500 Hospital Drive -- will add 32,000 square feet and renovate 10,000 square feet.

The expansion will add eight postpartum beds and one labor-delivery room on the second floor, bringing the number of postpartum beds to 27 and delivery rooms to 10, hospital officials said.

The hospital will add a 15-bed observation unit connected to the emergency department. The space will be used for patients with stays of less than 24 hours, while doctors decide if they need to be admitted to the hospital.

Renovation work will allow for potential operating room expansion in the future, according to the release.

The hospital is close to capacity in its obstetrics service area, said Steve Bunyard, Dublin Methodist president. He said a little more than 2,500 babies were delivered last year.

Hospital officials realized the facility wasn't going to have the capability to continue meeting the needs of the community in that space, Bunyard said.

"That was really the primary driver" behind the need to add postpartum beds and a labor-delivery room, Bunyard said.

Delivery services have continued to grow as Dublin has grown, Bunyard said.

As the community has embraced Dublin Methodist, many of its services have grown quickly, he said.

For example, when the hospital opened it had four operating rooms, and that number has increased to eight.

More than 7,000 surgeries are performed annually, he said.

In-patient services also have increased. The hospital opened with 60 beds, and that number has increased to 80.

The 15-bed observation unit will help hospital employees provide more efficient service, by freeing up in-patient beds that had been used for observation, Bunyard said.

The 15-bed unit will be positioned next to the emergency department, where those patients would likely start their treatment, he said.

The goal would be to quickly assess patients to either help them leave the hospital or admit them to an in-patient setting.

Construction for the expansion and renovation is under way, Bunyard said, and is expected to be complete in June.

The majority of the work is going on outside the existing building. The only short-term impact to patient care has been the use of a mobile magnetic resonance imaging machine near the emergency department, which will stay in place for a couple of months while construction is done around the existing MRI, Bunyard said.

Plans for the project began about 2 1/2 to 3 years, Bunyard said, as officials realized the areas of women's health and inpatient capacity would be a challenge.

Page Vornbrock, chairwoman of the Dublin Methodist Hospital Foundation Development Board, said the hospital grew much faster than anticipated, just as the Dublin community has.

The strength of the Dublin City School District education programs, along with progressive city management and a strong corporate tax base has made residents want to live here, Vornbrock said. And, as the city grows, the need for medical services does as well.

Many young families have come to the area in part because of the school district's strength, which also affects the number of births that happen at the hospital, he said.

Hospital staff members will be added depending on how the volume of patients grows in the time following the addition, Bunyard said.

The hospital will continue to look for services to add that might result in the need to expand further, he said. The goal is to grow appropriately as the healthcare environment changes, he said.

At some point, anticipated growth would require another four- to six-story tower to be added to the hospital, Vornbrock said.

But building additions in phases gives the hospital time to meet current demand and be analytical about what the next phase should look like, he said.

Dublin Methodist sits on a little less than 100 acres, Bunyard said. Even with the announced recent addition, there is room to build out further, he said.

"We're excited that we still have the opportunity to grow up here," he said.