Officials at Hunterdon Medical Center unveiled plans last week for an estimated $18 million expansion that includes a new of a state-of-the-art cardiovascular center.
Construction is expected to begin no later than the end of the year, according to Robert P. Wise, president and chief executive officer of Hunterdon Healthcare System.
“Construction begins once we get all of the approvals,” Wise said Thursday.
When the expansion is complete, the hospital will have its first critical care unit devoted to cardiology patients, according to cardiologist Glen Tonnessen.
“The project is much more than a suite of labs,” he said.
The expansion will centralize all acute care cardiovascular services.
In addition to the two cardiac catheterization labs providing coronary intervention and angioplasty, the center will include 20 private patient rooms and a cardiovascular critical care unit that will be part of a new inpatient critical care area.
Officials said the expansion of the nearly 60-year-old hospital would allow it to offer elective angioplasty.
Wise said the expansion will be atop what used to be known by those familiar with the hospital as “The Hilton,” 44 third-floor beds on the hospital’s west wing for extended patient stays. The building was designed to allow for additional floors; the fifth floor will house the cardiovascular center, while the fourth will remain unfurnished for later use.
The proposed expansion also facilitates the hospital’s move toward all-private rooms. Consumer demand is driving the change due to concerns over noise control, healthcare regulations to ensure privacy and concerns about the spread of infectious disease.
Wise added that hospital officials are considering installing solar panels on the roof of the expansion, if it proves economically feasible.
The cardiovascular center is the Medical Center foundation’s third and final phase of the “Investing in a New Generation of Care” capital campaign.
Phase one was the completion of a $5 million radiation oncology wing at Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center, which opened in March 2010. The second phase was a $7 million renovation and expansion of the medical center’s surgical suite.
Wise said the foundation has raised about $13 million of its $15 million goal, adding that more than $2 million was contributed by hospital staff.
“Our forefathers allowed for three wings to be added in the 21st century,” he said. “We are most excited about it.”