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St. Mark's to build women's health center

St. Mark's Hospital was to break ground Tuesday on a $45 million expansion that will include adding a women's health center, complete with 50 new adult beds.

The building, set to be completed in 2001 on the west end of the hospital's grounds at 1200 East and 3900 South, will include obstetric and gynecological services, as well as an even bigger newborn intensive care unit.The hospital just this week dedicated its new newborn unit, which expanded intensive-care capacity from eight to 16 beds. The new facility will hold up to 32 infants. The building also includes a well-nursery for 34 newborns.

"It's all part of a campus master plan developed eight years ago," said hospital CEO John Hanshaw. "There was always a footprint in our campus for another building if and when demand and other indicators told us that was the right time."

A second phase in the project will include renovating the vacated space in the main hospital to add new operating rooms and intensive-care space.

In all, the project is expected to take 2 1/2 years, Hanshaw said.

"This will add a lot of capacity to the women's center and make it more user-friendly," Hanshaw said. "It will have both obstetric and gynecologic beds, so women can come here to deliver babies or have GYN surgery.

"As we looked at the demographics of our population, which is aging, we are projecting a greater and greater need for services for GYN."

Hanshaw said the project reflects the hospital's commitment to grow with the community. "The birth rates are quite healthy here, so the projection for delivery is pretty strong."

The formal groundbreaking will be held Tuesday night at 6 p.m.