Catawba Valley Medical Center opened its $30.4 million addition on Monday, with facilities for cancer patients and a birthing center.
The five-floor building, which the hospital calls its pavilion, covers 88,376 square feet and is attached to the rear of the hospital.
Its three floors used for patient care will be home to a cancer treatment center and a Center for Women and Children, including 18 rooms where women will be able to go through labor and delivery and stay with their children.
Three oncology units in separate areas of the hospital will be combined in the pavilion so cancer patients can receive chemotherapy or radiation, along with inpatient oncology treatment.
Instead of women going to the emergency room when labor begins, they will go to the birthing center, where a triage staff will evaluate if they are ready to be admitted. The pavilion also includes an intensive care neonatal unit.
Patients and staff will be moved to the facility in stages throughout the winter.
The addition did not increase the 258 beds for which the hospital is licensed.
The construction has had an estimated economic impact of $21 million, said Kitty Barnes, chairman of the Catawba Board of County Commissioners, who spoke at Monday’s dedication program.
“But at the end of the day, it is the human impact that is most important,” Barnes said. “It is a place our families and we can come for truly wonderful health care.”
The modern facility will help attract and retain doctors and health care workers, she said.
Community donations total $3.6 million, about 10 percent of the pavilion’s cost, said Tony Rose, the third president in the hospital’s 45-year history.
The hospital’s 165 volunteers made up one of the largest group of contributors, pledging more than $1 million. Other major donors were community residents and businesses, $1 million; physicians, $1.1 million; and hospital employees, $527,000.
Catawba Valley Medical Center, located off Interstate 40 Exit 128 east of Hickory, is a nonprofit.
It works with Catawba County but has not received taxpayer support in 39 years, said its longtime attorney Charles Dixon.
“It has been able to fund all its expansion and operating costs with its own revenue,” Dixon told about 60 guests at Monday’s dedication.
Dr. Joel Miller, speaking at the dedication ceremony, said the nonprofit hospital does not share profits with shareholders.
“They are reinvested in this institution to help the people it serves,” he said.
Now that the pavilion is complete, work will start on a $12.1 million renovation of the hospital, with work to be completed in June 2015. That work will construct a newborn nursery for healthy babies, private pediatric rooms, private ob-gyn rooms, private rooms for mothers before they give birth and a private, 16-bed medical/surgical unit.
The remodeling will not increase the number of beds in the hospital.
This was the hospital’s first major construction project since it opened in 1967 and was completed below its $34 million budget. Catawba County voters approved bonds in 1962 that were used to build the hospital.
Construction by Rodgers Builders Inc. of Charlotte started three years ago. The architect was FreemanWhite Inc. of Charlotte.
County manager Tom Lundy said the county and the hospital worked closely on financial matters.
The county, with its higher credit rating, was able to help the hospital get a 20-year, $22 million loan, at a 4.96 percent interest rate, hospital officials said.
It also helped the hospital refinance other loans to lower interest rates.
The hospital has 1,699 employees, making it the second largest employer in the county, after the county school system.
Dianne Whitacre Straley is a freelance writer for Gaston/Catawba News. Have a story idea for Dianne? Email her at email@example.com.
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