Work has already begun on a $15 million expansion project at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital involving the construction of a brand new set of operating rooms for general surgical services and the addition of an operating room dedicated to caesarian sections adjoining the Birthing Center.
The new ORs are being built on the north end of the current Main Hospital building and will be served by a separate entranceway complete with heated sidewalks and a drive-up entranceway. According to MDMH CEO John Bartos, this project is one of the last major projects in an 18-year-long effort at implementing the hospital’s Master Plan.
The yet to be constructed, 26,000 square foot addition is coming just in the nick of time, too. Bartos said that a second mid-level neurosurgeon was just added to Dr. Day’s staff and with the orthopedic surgeons that have come on board doing complete work on shoulders, hips, and knees and all the new technology involved, the hospital has already outgrown the present facilities. Bartos said that in the current facility at this time Dr. Day is scheduled out six months in advance for clinic visits.
“That’s too far out,” said Bartos. “For patients that have immediate needs, we need to get them up sooner.”
Bartos said that the hospital is fortunate to be serving a growing population and the demographic trend is towards an aging population. That age group, he said, of 55 years and older, also tends to need more medical services. He said the hospital would continue to recruit more specialists and the new ORs will help attract those people. He said the improvements being made should serve the community well for the next 30 to 40 years.
Besides housing three new ORs, the addition also accommodates Phase 1 and Phase 2 recovery rooms.
“There are days,” said Bartos, “that we don’t have enough space for the people in recovery for the surgical procedures we are doing.”
The addition also contains a large storage area for supplies, an area for de-contamination and all the other essentials involved in support of OR.
Besides this 26,000 square foot facility, an additional 1,500 square foot addition is being added to the existing Birthing Center that will house an OR specifically dedicated to caesarian section. Bartos said that one of the existing ORs was always set aside to serve caesarian sections but the mothers would have to travel through the Birthing Center and down to the OR. Once this addition is completed, and it could be as early as this spring, the OR for caesarian sections will be just across the hallway.
“It’s more efficient, safer and offers more privacy to the mother,” said Bartos.
The bigger, 24,000 square foot addition is expected to take 14 months to complete and bring about 90 construction jobs along with it. In the long term, Bartos said, the surgical services addition will generate another two to four hospital staff jobs that will last.
The $15 million project is being funded through the Montana Financing Facility Authority by the issuance of a private 20-year term bond that was purchased by First Interstate Bank of Hamilton.
Bartos said that alternative funding was considered. He recalled how the hospital successfully funded its Emergency Room construction nine years ago with a public bond issuance. That was a $7.5 million bond issuance and all of the $3 million in bonds available in the Hamilton area sold out in the first three hours. This time, he said, they decided to go with a private issuance because it’s a quicker and cleaner process and a better rate might be available.
“We invited banks to bid on the bonds,” said Bartos. “Several submitted bids and First Interstate Bank got it.”