By Rachel Leber
TYLER, Texas — The Christus Trinity Mother Frances Health System in Tyler broke ground April 3 on an expansion of the Christus Mother Frances Hospital. This expansion is a two-part project that includes a new parking garage and a tower that will house an Emergency Care Center, Intensive Care Units and multiple support services, with additional space for future growth.
The 186,452-square-foot tower will have a skywalk leading to the 297,300-square-foot, 850-space parking garage. The combined budget for the two-part project is approximately $92.1 million. This expansion is a coordinated effort between HDR Architects, SSR Engineering and McCarthy Contractors — all based out of Dallas — and Walter P. Moore out of Houston. Construction on the parking garage began in May, projected for completion in Jan. 2018. Construction on the tower is projected to begin after the completion of the parking garage in Feb. 2018, with construction completion scheduled for fall of 2019.
The overall goal of the hospital expansion is twofold, according to Kyle Rutherford, associate vice president for construction services at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Health System. Part one is the construction of the parking garage to alleviate current parking issues for the hospital, and part two is to improve the existing Emergency Care Center (ECC) and ICU capabilities of the hospital. “The ECC will have a linear design that will include all private rooms to improve patient privacy and positively impact infection control,” said Rutherford.
Additionally, the new ECC will bring leading-edge technology, improved patient flow, air flight and ground transportation accessibility to improve wait time and length of stay.
The plans for the expansion include 48 private treatment rooms in the ECC, with dedicated pediatric-friendly rooms and a surge capacity to 52 to allow up to 90,000 visits annually. “The existing ECC was constructed to receive approximately 45,000 visits each year, and we’ve averaged more than 80,000 visits annually for some time now, making us the busiest ECC in the area,” said Rutherford.
The new tower will have six levels, with a range of services in the basement, a state-of-the-art- emergency care center on level one, a 24-bed ICU on both levels three and four, with level five yet undesignated, open for future growth needs. The expansion’s final level includes a rooftop with two helipads that will bring the medical center’s “Flight For Life” program into a new area with direct ECC access, improving accessibility to ECC care.
“The expansion will provide covered parking for all visitors, as well as an ECC that will improve throughput and decrease wait times in a private and comfortable environment, especially for our pediatric patients and their families,” said Rutherford. The ICU design will allow the clinical staff to have bedside clinical documentation, continuous patient observation and a “hospitality room” feel, according to Rutherford. “Support services will be readily available, reducing the distance staff will need to travel, minimizing time away from patients,” said Rutherford. Additionally, interior enhancements of water features, indirect lighting and other planned aesthetic improvements for the hospital were chosen to reduce stress and create a calming and healing environment for patients.