Ground was broken Monday on the future site of a $69 million surgery tower at Johnson City Medical Center.
Expected to be completed by the summer of 2013, the 156,000-square-foot addition to the JCMC campus will feature 16 operating suites — each 30 percent larger to house new technology and more space for patient care — along with 48 patient beds for pre- and post-operative care and a satellite pharmacy.
Officials with Mountain States Health Alliance held the groundbreaking ceremony Monday on the south side of the JCMC campus.
The need for additional operating space and a greater focus on utilizing the latest technology and medical procedures were some of the driving forces behind the project, which has been in the works for several years.
“We’re doing much more advanced surgical techniques today than we did back in 1980. It requires more people in the rooms than what we had in 1980,” MSHA President and CEO Dennis Vonderfecht said.
With MSHA’s commitment to bring the latest medical and surgical technology into the region, such as the use of the da Vinci robotic surgical system, the new center is just another way for the system to better meet patient and physician needs, Vonderfecht said.
“This space in the new building will be much needed and much desired because of that technology and the more advanced procedures that we’re doing today,” he said.
About $35 million of the project’s $69 million price tag will be used for state-of-the-art equipment, including LED surgical lighting for better visibility and low heat output; the Artis zeego single-plane robotic imaging system, which provides real-time internal imaging during surgery; large high-definition monitors; anesthesia equipment mounted on ceiling booms; and video monitors mounted on ceiling booms.
Dr. Trey Robertson, chairman of the department of surgery, said JCMC has always been at the forefront of the changes in surgery. The major expansion project is just another example of that, he said.
“This expansion will allow greater access to that care. It will allow better patient flow through the system as well as better comfort for both the patient and their families, and care for the patient is the reason that we’re all here,” he said.
As with all new construction within the MSHA system, the surgery center will be the latest facility designed to be LEED-certified as a green building by the United States Green Building Council.
Some of the green aspects include 50 percent of construction waste will be recycled, low-VOC materials will be used for paint, adhesives and sealants, the central sterilization unit will be equipped with steam cleaners that make the sterilization process more energy efficient, bicycle storage, water-efficient landscaping and stormwater management and an automated control system for HVAC and lighting systems.
The general contractor for the project is Skanska USA. The project is expected to bring about 1,000 jobs to the area during the construction phase.