By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – St. Dominic Hospital is expanding and updating its emergency department. Hospital leaders sponsored a celebration of the project Tuesday, Feb. 12. Work has already begun, so organizers had to get creative with this event. In lieu of a groundbreaking, hospital, community and diocesan leaders were invited to light up twirling red emergency lights as an official kick-off to the overall project.
The department has gone from seeing 45,000 to 60,000 patients annually in a few short years. The expansion will sit in a space once occupied by the original chapel and an office building. When opened in mid-2020, it will feature, 20 patient rooms, two trauma treatment areas, an exam room, onsite imaging and rooms specifically for mental health. Once the expansion is ready, the existing department will be renovated to match the layout and flow of the new center, adding another 16 rooms and one more exam room.
The current location had some challenges such as a lack of a dedicated emergency traffic lane and parking. These will be addressed with the expansion. Work is well underway. Those gathered for the celebration could see out of the tent onto a deep hole where infrastructure for the new building will be put into place.
St. Dominic Health Services president Claude Harbarger outlined the project in his opening remarks and welcomed the dignitaries on hand including Bishop Joseph Latino, Bishop Emeritus for the Diocese of Jackson, who blessed the site and the people who will work there. Sister Dorothea Sondgeroth, associate executive director for the St. Dominic Health Services Foundation gave the invocation.
The foundation has raised $7.5 million, but continues to seek $2.5 million for the $10 million it will take for the whole project. Donors can use the St. Dominic donation page on its website, https://payment.stdom.com, and select the Emergency Department Campaign to give to the project.