Groundbreaking ceremonies Wednesday at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center represent more than just the first major construction there in 20 years, leaders say.
Hospital CEO William Caldwell called it the project “new chapter for Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center.”
The three-story, 75,500-square-foot “D” building will consolidate Memorial’s surgical support services and cardiovascular services, allowing the hospital to establish a cardiovascular institute.
“This building we are breaking ground for today is really key to the future of Conemaugh Memorial,” Caldwell said.
The $79 million project is financed by Conemaugh parent Duke LifePoint Healthcare.
“Duke LifePoint is committed to investing in our communities and ensuring that our facilities have the technology, equipment and resources they need to provide the highest quality care for patients,” LifePoint Health Division Eastern President Jamie Carter said in a press release.
“This exciting new project not only expands the hospital’s existing footprint, but positions Conemaugh Health System for future growth as a leader of health care in western Pennsylvania.”
When completed in what is now a grassy area along Flinn Street above the main hospital, the new building will connect to the existing hospital through the third, fourth and fifth floors, Caldwell said. It is designed for future expansion that could add another three floors.
The current hospital’s third floor includes cardiovascular services. Connecting to the new “D” building will allow the program to expand and centralize. A new cardiovascular institute is planned.
Heart surgeon Dr. Savas Mavridis said the upgrade will improve heart care in Johnstown.
“We will greatly improve the quality of care by bringing together the services,” Mavridis said.
“We will also improve the patient experience and satisfaction.”
The fourth-floor connection will help centralize surgical support services with additional programs and the fifth-floor level will add a physicians lounge and other features, in addition to the new building’s mechanical equipment.
The upgrade will extend beyond the new structure, Caldwell said.
“It is not just a new building,” he said. “It is part of a project that will renovate about 20,000 square feet of the existing hospital.”
State Reps. Frank Burns, D-East Taylor Township, and James Rigby, R-Ferndale, said the facility will benefit from bipartisan support that created a new Keystone Opportunity Zone.
Site work has already begun on the property and heavy equipment will arrive soon, Caldwell said. Because it is surrounded by the existing hospital and will connect on three floors, Conemaugh leaders looked at contractors’ experience in similar projects.
The project was designed by Stengle Hill Architecture. Massaro Construction Group is the general contractor.
The project is scheduled for completion in 2023.