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Holy Cross Expansion Moving Right Along

New patient care wing on track for 2010 opening.


After months of preparation that included grading and installation of infrastructure, the new Patient Care Wing at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center is beginning to take shape.


Truckloads of structural steel were delivered this week to the construction site and work is underway to frame what will be a four-story expansion with 136 new beds. Construction is on schedule, with the patient care wing due to open in 2010.


 “It’s exciting to see the framework begin for the actual building,” said Kerry Carmody, chief executive of Providence Holy Cross in Mission Hills. “It means we’re getting that much closer to being able to provide more sorely needed hospital beds for the community.”


Six truckloads of steel made up the first shipment and work began immediately on building the structure for the basement, which will be called the Garden Level, up to the first floor, said Arnold Soria of the hospital’s Plant Operations Department. A crane capable of lifting up to 300 tons is being utilized to remove the steel as it is delivered and then over several days to erect the base of the building that will stand on Rinaldi Street at Indian Hills Drive.


The structure immediately visible will be the Garden Level, which will house the gastroenterology laboratory and other services. The main entry will be one floor above with the lower level surrounded by landscaping. Steel is scheduled to be delivered over the next two or three months for use in completing the frame.


 “It’s going very well,” said John Ramirez, director of facilities and support services for Providence Holy Cross. “Construction is on schedule and this phase will continue for the next 90 days.”


“Care Can’t Wait” is the theme of the Providence Holy Cross Foundation’s fund-raising drive for the expansion and it couldn’t be more appropriate. The existing 254-bed hospital often exceeds capacity, Carmody said. There are times when patients are admitted for as long as three days and never sleep in a room, relegated to gurneys in hallways when the hospital is full. Patients who come in through the Emergency Department frequently remain there after they’ve been admitted because there are no rooms available. These are signs of what could be much more frequent in the future if more hospital beds do not become available.


For now, the only alternative is to turn away patients, something Holy Cross would not consider, Carmody said.


“Where would they go?” Carmody said. “If people are in need of medical care, we won’t tell them, ‘Sorry, we’re full.’ We make it work.”


The overcrowding is due in part to the closures in recent years of Granada Hills Community Hospital and the Sherman Way Campus of Northridge Hospital Medical Center. At the same time, the region served by Holy Cross – the northeastern San Fernando Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley –  is growing rapidly with tens of thousands of new homes in the planning stages, this as the current population is aging.


Providence Holy Cross is the only hospital serving the area that is adding new beds now to meet that growing need.


The new $180 million hospital wing will house a 12-bed neonatal intensive care unit, a new Women’s Pavilion, additional ICU beds and the G.I. lab.


The expansion is not only being built to meet the toughest earthquake safety guidelines, it is designed to be friendly to the environment.


The wing will be among just three hospital facilities in the nation with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the national benchmark for environmentally-conscious design. “Green” highlights include recycling of construction materials, energy-efficient lighting, high-performance insulation systems and water-efficient irrigation for landscaping.


The project is the second major expansion at Holy Cross in recent years. In January 2007, the newly expanded Emergency Department opened with more than double the capacity.


Holy Cross Expansion Moving Right Along

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