The new hospital on the hilltop is bigger than the downtown King's Daughters' Hospital, but will have the same number of beds, 86.
The reason is efficiency, community relations specialist Dave Ommen and Wehr Constructors Inc. co-superintendent Roger Jones said Friday during a media tour.
There will be space for medical technology that KDH cannot currently offer because it does not have space, such as in the surgery rooms, Ommen said.
When additional cables have to be put someplace at the old hospital, there isn't any more room above the ceiling tiles. At the new hospital, the space above the ceilings is deep - 16 feet on the first three floors and 18 feet on the top floor - so the ductwork, wires and pipes fit comfortably and leave space for repairs and for future needs.
A "backstage hallway" on the first floor will give workers access to move materials and supplies from the loading docks to such places as the kitchen without ever crossing paths with a patient. Ommen said that kind of separation cannot be guaranteed downtown. The "backstage hallway" takes up space but makes materials movement more efficient, he said.
"It's for efficiency reasons we have that back hallway," Ommen said.
There will be more elevators in the new hospital, with public elevators at the center and staff-only elevators at the ends. This will allow hospital employees to take patients from one part of the hospital to another, such as from a patient room to X-ray, without having to go through a lobby or other public area, as is the case downtown, he said.
A pneumatic-tube system will allow such things as blood samples taken on a patient floor to be delivered to the laboratory without having to send a person to carry it to its destination, Ommen and Jones said. The test results also can be sent by tube to the patient's floor and to a doctor's office in the attached medical building.
The pneumatic-tube system will be extended outside the hospital building and underground, to the hospital's perimeter road so if KDH decides to build a cancer center there, that part of the infrastructure will already be in place and landscaping won't have to be torn up, Jones said.
The patient rooms were designed for efficiency. Every room on the third and fourth floors will be exactly the same. This will allow the nursing staff to know where everything is by learning it once; at the downtown hospital, equipment and supplies are located at different places in patient rooms, which themselves are not all alike in the much-added-onto hospital, Ommen said.
The identical rooms - which also have the outlets for medical gases such as oxygen in the same location - will be helpful for employees who do not work every day or always on the same floor, Ommen said.
Having identical rooms also will allow the hospital flexibility in designating beds for specific uses, Jones said. The two patient floors won't be organized along malady lines such as surgery or orthopedics.
"All the rooms are set up identical and are multipurpose," Jones said. "They can cordon-off an area and have pediatrics or cordon-off an area for geriatrics and everything in between ... so they can expand wherever the need is."
Similarly, all the operating rooms will be identical, Jones said. The surgical suites are bigger at the new hospital to accommodate new technology, Ommen said.
There will be 20 examining rooms in the emergency room at the new hospital, which is twice as many as downtown. The larger number will be "a lot better to handle extreme emergencies," Ommen said.
The new hospital will have a cafeteria that is two or three times larger than the cafeteria downtown, and it will have windows instead of being in the basement. As with the hospital downtown, the cafeteria will be open to the public. A door from the cafeteria will lead to an outdoor courtyard that is closed at the ends. There will be tables for eating in the courtyard.
The basement of the new hospital will include conference rooms accessible from the main entrance that will have more space than the conference rooms downtown for meetings and other community gatherings, Ommen said.
Trying to make the downtown KDH more efficient would have cost $50 million to $60 million more than building a new hospital, Ommen said.