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Longview Regional project brings parking 'nightmares'

By Mike Elswick melswick@news-journal.com
Sept. 25, 2012 at 11 p.m.


Construction for Longview Regional Medical Center's 175,000-square-foot expansion project remains on track to be completed by December 2013, Jim Kendrick said Tuesday.

The hospital's president and CEO said while plans are on schedule, the progress has its challenges.

"Right now parking is my biggest nightmare," Kendrick told members of the Rotary Club of Longview at a noon meeting. The hospital leased about 350 parking spaces from Mobberly Baptist Church when construction started in July and is shuttling employees back and forth.

The hospital lost several hundred parking spaces on the campus as construction started.

Beginning this past Monday, the employees of Diagnostic Clinic of Longview, housed on Longview Regional's campus, were added to those being bused from off-campus parking lots, he said.

"We're focused on leaving all available parking spaces for our patients," Kendrick said. "Right now we're shuttling between 600 and 700 employees each day."

In addition to nearly doubling the size of the hospital, Kendrick said he expects to be increasing the staff at Longview Regional by about a third when the construction is completed.

"We'll probably be hiring a couple of hundred more people - that will fluctuate depending on what our actual volume is," he said. Among the areas being expanded are the number of patient beds, which will grow from 130 beds to about 230 when construction is complete.

Kendrick declined to say what the total investment the hospital's parent company, Community Health Systems, expects to make by the time the expansion is completed.

"Let's just say it will be significant," he said.

Longview Regional plans to add about 115,000 square feet to the medical center; renovate another 50,000 square feet and construct a new 60,000-square-foot office tower. All of the patient rooms will be private acute care rooms, he said.

Other features include:

<ul> <li>Doubling of surgery operating rooms from eight to 16;</li> <li>Doubling of intensive care unit beds from 12 to 24;</li> <li>More than doubling labor delivery and postpartum beds from 15 to 43;</li> <li>New neonatal intensive care unit with 21 beds;</li> <li>New oncology unit with eight beds.</li> </ul>

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