East Texans facing the challenges of cancer and heart disease will have new opportunities for care and healing in two state-of-the-art units opening at ETMC Tyler in mid-January.
On January 12, a dedication ceremony for the Mary and Wayne Poindexter Patient Care Unit will honor Mr. Poindexter and his late wife for their contribution of $5 million to the new oncology (cancer care) unit on the sixth floor. The day will also provide guests with tours of the new fifth floor unit dedicated to cardiology (heart care) patients and other medical specialties.
The two new units represent a $28 million expansion project which adds a total of 72 new rooms and two stories to the north tower of the hospital. The building program began in 2008. ETMC Regional Healthcare System CEO/President Elmer G. Ellis noted that the bricks and mortar of construction illustrate the larger message of ETMC's growing service to the people and communities of East Texas.
"Due to ETMC's strength in specialized patient care, we have seen significant increases in patient census, including many periods when the hospital is essentially full," said Ellis. "The addition of the 72 beautiful rooms that will comprise the new 5-North and 6-North units will have many positive effects for our facility as a whole and especially for the patients and guests during their stay."
"Part of the innovation of the two new units is the fact that they are tiered out from the current north wings in a ‘reverse wedding cake' design," added Ellis. "This will expand the width of the units by 9 feet, allowing for larger patient rooms and corridors. The comfortable, visually appealing environment will be an important component of the healing process for our patients."
Each of the units will include 36 private rooms with expansive windows and attractive furnishings, nursing work stations, glass conference rooms and guest waiting areas. ETMC Tyler will grow to a total of 536 beds with the new units. The two units that previously housed these patients (3-South and 6-South) will be used for overflow and also will be renovated in the future.
The positive outcomes of the expansion will include reduced congestion in ETMC Tyler's Level I Trauma Center as emergency patients are admitted to inpatient care, as well as increased overall capability to accept patient transfers from ETMC's regional network of hospitals and additional referring physicians and healthcare facilities. Most importantly, the all-private rooms themselves will be state-of-the-art, with large windows, comfortable furnishings and a separate couch/bed for the patient's guest.
A seventh floor – with a lantern tower top – was also added to the hospital to house mechanical equipment. In addition to the main facility expansion, a new multi-level $20 million parking garage is under construction on Hospital Drive to help meet current and future parking needs. The skywalk is also being extended to reach the new garage. This project is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2010.
Key firms involved in the construction project are Hammel, Green & Abrahamson – Architects, Engineers and Planners of Minneapolis, MN; Nori Umemoto Design Associates of San Jose, CA; and Vaughn Construction of Houston/College Station.