The top floor of the Kent General Hospital pavilion is currently wrapped in scaffolding and black construction fabric. The flurry of activity that is going on along the building’s upper perimeter is a sign that the hospital is once again expanding. The building’s third floor is being equipped to house 32 private patient rooms and a fourth floor will be added
The top floor of the Kent General Hospital pavilion is currently wrapped in scaffolding and black construction fabric. The flurry of activity that is going on along the building’s upper perimeter is a sign that the hospital is once again expanding. The building’s third floor is being equipped to house 32 private patient rooms and a fourth floor will be added.
During Bayhealth’s last major round of construction at Kent General, a shell floor was built on the top of the pavilion. The floor was simply a set of four walls and a roof; now that shell will be filled with rooms.
“The paviallion was designed to be a 10-story building,” said Michael Metzing, vice president of corporate support services for Bayhealth.”So we can add an additional seven stories on top of what’s already there. The plan, long term, is to turn that into a bed tower, which would have nine stories that would be occupied and one story that would be a mechanical floor.”
A shell floor will also be added on top of the floor currently being outfitted for patient rooms, Metzing said. Shell floors are built during ongoing construction because steel beams can’t be lifted into place directly over an occupied floor. Starting in June, steel beams will begin to be lifted in place by a crane for the new floor over each weekend. It is estimated to take all four weekends to complete to work, Metzing said. Once the steel goes up for the new shell floor, bricks will be laid on the exterior walls and a roof will be added. All of this will go on while construction continues on the floor below to complete the new rooms.
In order to embark on this next phase of construction Kent General had to obtain a Certificate of Public Review from the state. That document was approved earlier this year, and planning and design began. The project was put out to bid, and Newark-based Whiting-Turner was awarded the bid in early February. Construction on the new project began in March and is expected to be wrapped up in December, with patients moving into the floor in January, Metzing said. The cost of construction is roughly $10 million. The total cost of the project, including equipment and furniture, is $15.5 million.
The 30,000-square-foot, 32-bed floor will be used for an intermediate unit, which is for patients who do not belong in intensive care, but need more monitoring than the average medical or surgical patient, said Bonnie Perratto, senior vice president for patient care services and chief nursing executive with Bayhealth.
“Intermediate patients are patients that are a little less stable, that require a closer watch but are not critical,” Perratto said. “They’re not on ventilators, they’re not our neurosurgical ICU patients. Sometimes they’re patients that have come out of the ICU, who have had illnesses or procedures that were more critical and are on the road to recovery.”
There are currently 41 beds dedicated to intermediate care at Kent General; the new unit will nearly double the number of beds dedicated to that unit.
With the addition of more beds, more employees, from nurses to support staff, will also be added at Bayhealth.
One of the hopes is that with the addition of new beds, emergency room wait times, which average 52 minutes, will grow shorter, Perratto said.
“We added a new emergency department at Kent General, as well as the new emergency center in Smyrna,” Perratto said. “There’s a percentage of those patients that are naturally going to be in-patient admissions and if we don’t have beds, unfortunately they’re held in the emergency department until a bed is vacated. This is critical and crucial to decreasing those bed holds in the emergency departments.”