Christus Good Shepherd Health System on Tuesday broke ground on a $35 million project that will see an expansion of the NorthPark campus in Longview as well as the creation of the city’s first integrated orthopedics and sports medicine institute.

The project will transform the existing Institute for Healthy Living into the new Christus Good Shepherd Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute and add 27,000-square-feet of space, including dedicated operating rooms for orthopedic surgical procedures, at NorthPark. The Institute for Healthy Living will continue to serve as a community gym, but will expand its hours of operation to 24 hours a day and will be integrated into the recovery process of the orthopedic and sports medicine services at the facility.

The new Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute will work with NorthPark to offer a complete scope of services, allowing Christus to transform the way it serves the community, said Todd Hancock, Good Shepherd Health System president and CEO.

“There is absolutely nothing else like this in Longview,” Hancock said. “We are creating the first of its kind in Longview — an entire campus dedicated to orthopedic care.”

As Christus continues to grow and expand, Hancock said, more employees are being recruited daily.

“We’ll continue to add a full range of employees here, not only from everyone that works in our ORs to those who work in our fitness center, but physicians and specialists that we’re actively recruiting right now,” he said. “This facility has the capability to take 13 orthopedic specialists here, so that’s a lot of doctors coming to our community. To attract that talent to our community, you need great facilities like this. This is just great for the community.”

Staff from Christus Health and the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, along with local officials, gathered Tuesday morning at 3313 Good Shepherd Way for a groundbreaking ceremony for the project.

“So much of health care has become difficult to access. You have to go to so many places and wait to see so many people,” Hancock said. “Our dream and our vision — which we think is state of the art — is to bring all of that care to one campus.”

The new campus aims to offer one centralized location for patients in every step of the orthopedic healing process. This would include the initial physician visit, diagnostic imaging, surgery, rehabilitation and recovery.

The NorthPark campus was established in 2014 and includes Christus Good Shepherd’s Emergency Center, imaging center and outpatient lab. The offices of Christus Trinity Clinic Obstetrics/Gynecology, Christus Trinity Clinic Pediatrics, ENT Associates of East Texas and Longview Orthopaedic Clinic Association also are at NorthPark.

The expansion will add 27,000 square feet to the existing NorthPark facility. The new surgical hospital will feature patient rooms, six operating suites and expanded clinical space. The new surgical hospital will primarily be focused on orthopedics and sports medicine.

Dr. Stephen Littlejohn, chief of orthopedics for Christus Good Shepherd Health System, said with operating rooms dedicated exclusively to orthopedic care, it will allow doctors greater opportunities to meet the community. Littlejohn said the process will increase access and help educate patients through every step of the process.

“With this process, they are educated on what’s going to happen before it happens,” Littlejohn said. “The more you know about what’s going to happen to you, the less intimated you are and the better you do.”

Also, the Institute for Healthy Living will become the new Christus Good Shepherd Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute.

In total, it will be a 75,000-square-foot, multi-story facility that offers orthopedics and sports medicine care, outpatient therapy and rehabilitation, human performance, medically-integrated fitness, musculoskeletal radiology and the Institute for Healthy Living.

The Institute for Healthy Living fitness floor, personal training, multi-fitness studio and aquatics center will remain available for members and “be integrated throughout the patient journey,” according to the health system.

The expanded clinical area will include 40 exam rooms, three minor procedure rooms and onsite diagnostic imaging.

“What we’ve designed is an advanced campus of orthopedics and sports medicine excellence,” Hancock said. “We are bringing the best clinical experts together in this state-of-the-art center to produce the best possible health care outcomes for patients. Whether it’s playing with grandkids or playing 18 holes of golf, this is all designed to return our patients back to the activities they love.”

Christus Trinity Mother Frances in Tyler has been constructing a similar Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute. That facility is slated to open next week, said Dr. William Hobbs, institute chief of orthopedics and sports medicine for Christus Trinity Clinic.

“This facility is going to provide patients access to specialists that they need as well as services that they really can’t find anywhere else in Longview and for that matter most of Northeast Texas, except Tyler,” Hobbs said. “So we’re going to coordinate those efforts going forward.”

Hobbs said Christus already has grown its athletic trainer network and now coordinates with more than 90 schools in Northeast Texas. Of those 90 schools, 75% are in the Tyler and Longview areas, he said.

Hancock said a big focus for the new Longview facility will be on “human performance” designed to help patients recover as quickly as possible. That focus also will be present at the new Tyler center, Hobbs said.

“What is human performance? Human performance is really what this is all about. Ultimately, this is about movement, this is about mobility in a pain-free way,” Hancock said. “This facility will truly be transformed into a place that is completely designed to meet the goals of our patients as they present to us. It’s not just about a procedure. It’s not just about a vision. It is about fulfilling the goal of the patient.”

While Christus has committed $35 million to the project, Christus Good Shepherd Foundation Executive Director Susan Ward said the foundation is launching a two-year campaign to raise $3 million for the project.

Construction for the Christus Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute is expected to begin in mid-August and be completed by fall 2022. The Christus Good Shepherd Hospital NorthPark expansion is expected to open in spring 2023.

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Courtney Stern is a public safety reporter covering a wide range of topics. She grew up in Baltimore and later earned a journalism degree from the University of Miami. Stern moved to East Texas from Iowa with her husband and two dogs, Pebbles and Bam Bam.