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Morning Sun
  • Expanding opportunities

  • Via Christi Hospital's 40,000-square-foot surgery center expansion began to really take shape early Monday morning with the pouring of concrete that will connect the 123 piers already in place and become the ground floor of the new addition.

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    Via Christi Hospital's 40,000-square-foot surgery center expansion began to really take shape early Monday morning with the pouring of concrete that will connect the 123 piers already in place and become the ground floor of the new addition.

    The project began in Nov. 2011 when the Crawford County Commission approved the use of $18 million in bond funds out of Sedgwick County to build the new surgery center.

    "We decided there was a need in the community for increased services," said Michael Hayslip, public relations director for Via Christi in Pittsburg.

    A ceremonial groundbreaking took place approximately a year later, on Nov. 19, 2012, and Crossland Construction crews have worked through the winter and early spring to prepare the site for Monday's pour.

    "We actually broke ground in late November/early December," said Bart Arnett, project superintendent.

    He said utility lines got in the way at one point, and weather also has posed challenges, but the project is moving along as planned.

    "There's a lot of work in getting this first level," Arnett said, adding that this is the foundation for the building, which will initially feature two floors, but will be built with the potential for more.

    "Right now there's just two floors, but there's a potential expansion of three floors," Arnett said. "The foundation will be built to hold five stories."

    Forms also arrived Monday for the pouring of the second-story floor.

    The structure will be built entirely of concrete, including walls formed of precast concrete, which will be poured offsite and brought in.

    Arnett also said the worst of winter and potential weather-related delays should be behind them.

    "You're completely at the weather's mercy," he said of the early part of a project, adding that sites tend to dry out more quickly and be workable sooner in warmer months.

    As of this point, Arnett said everything is moving along well and according to timeframe.

    Page 2 of 2 - "Our finish date is looking like the end of February, first of March," he said.

    The new surgery center will feature a complete electrical upgrade and also will allow for more space and technology.

    "The size of the rooms are going to be significantly larger than they are now," Hayslip said.

    He said this will allow for the accommodation of the most advanced operating room technology available, and will give doctors and nurses a state-of-the-art facility in which to care for the community's health.

    Hayslip said that a prototype of the new operating rooms has been constructed at the old Jake's Fireworks building off of 69 Highway and 20th Street, and doctors and nurses are taking turns visiting and touring, with the ability to offer feedback before the construction is completed.

    "We do a mock panel so we can get everyone involved before we build the permanent one," Arnett said.

    The work and visioning will continue to come together as the construction of the addition progresses. Work slated for the near future will be highly visible as Crossland's crew moves on to adding shoring for the elevated slab pour and helping structure take shape.

    Arnett and Hayslip said the new center is expected to have endoscopy and minor procedure facilities on the first floor and operating rooms on the second floor.

    It also will feature a new family waiting area and will be conveniently connected to the community entrance of the main building.

    The hope is that the hospital will attract an additional 20 surgeons, physicians and other specialists to the hospital over the next few years as a result of the upgrade.
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