Patients visiting the new professional building at Schneck Medical Center will find easy-to-access parking, spacious, well-lit reception and exam rooms and the works of local artists.
On a good day, they also might get treated to a panoramic view of the city and surrounding countryside.
On Thursday afternoon, hospital officials unveiled the result of several years of planning and nearly a year and a half of construction at the hospital in the 400 block of West Tipton Street in Seymour.
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President and Chief Executive Officer Warren Forgey said shortly before a ribbon-cutting ceremony that the expansion should take care of the needs of the community for several years to come, but that doesn’t mean hospital officials won’t keep an eye on those new needs and stop growing to meet them.
The $44 million project, which includes an 80,000-square-foot, five-story professional building and a 400-vehicle parking garage, should come in under budget, Forgey said.
Although there is still a lot of work to be done, Forgey said the professional building needs to be occupied and put in use as soon as possible. The top two floors of the building and the parking garage will open June 3.
“We have physician practices now that are overflowing and do not have enough space,” he said. “We just recruited a neurosurgeon who came on board April 1. He’ll be moving in. We also have new family practice physicians that will be joining this summer. We need the space. The fourth and fifth floors are going to be filling up very quickly.”
The remaining floors will be finished out as needed.
Construction began in January 2018 and is on schedule despite a lot of inclement weather this past winter, Forgey said.
“The crews worked through some very inclement weather and kept very close to being on schedule,” he said.
Jason Fee, Schneck’s director of facilities, said he expects all of the sitework and grading, which is being completed by Lawyer Excavation Inc. of Seymour, and landscaping, which Chris’ Lawn Care Inc. of Seymour is doing, to be substantially complete by the end of June.
He said the professional building features the latest technology, including all LED lighting.
“Heating and air conditioning is where the huge savings is at,” Fee said. “The exterior of the building is all spray foamed and sealed in really tight.”
And instead of multiple big air handlers, there’s just one small one, he said.
“… and uses chilled water and hot water from our existing plant,” Fee said. “We have a chilled beam system encircling the whole building. It’s a very modern system. The chilled beams aren’t used very much in Indiana, but they are in Europe. I think it will continue to grow (in use) here.”
A team from Duke Energy helped with that system.
“We got some energy rebates by doing that,” Fee said.
The project, which has changed the face of the hospital — and the city along West Tipton Street — also includes the use of the Slim-Line Cobiax system to create lighter, more efficient concrete slabs for each floor of the five-story medical office building. That system was first used in Germany.
Shortly before the ribbon cutting, Forgey and others, including Rick Smith, chairman of Schneck’s board of trustees, Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman and state District 44 Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, spoke.
Forgey said the last major expansion at Schneck occurred in 2009 with the addition of the cancer center and the five-story south wing.
“At that time, we anticipated that expansion would meet our needs for at least 15 years, but as our communities grow, it’s critical that Schneck also grows to meet the needs of our patients,” he said.
Research completed in 2016 coupled with input from local residents and other stakeholders indicated the communities needed convenient and access to more health care providers and services, Forgey said.
In 2017, hospital officials developed an aggressive plan to add 35 physicians to the medical staff, he said.
The recruiting process made it every evident an expansion was needed, he said.
“Since 2017, Schneck has recruited 27 family physicians and specialty positions,” Forgey said.
The professional building will offer patients access to internal medicine, infectious disease specialists, a neurosurgeon, a pain center, primary care, surgical associates, bariatrics and a vein center.
“Our goal is to make your health care streamlined and comprehensive while at the same time easy to access,” Forgey said. “Mary Schneck, who 108 years ago had the vision of building a community hospital, would be pleased to see how we have grown from the original 17-bed hospital to a health care delivery system with nine affiliated locations in four counties.”
Smith said growing the Schneck campus is certainly exciting.
“… but growing our health care providers and our health care services to meet the needs of today, tomorrow and into the future is a platform for sustainability in your community hospital,” he said.
Luedeman said Schneck continues to be one of the best partners the city has when it comes to recruiting businesses looking to come to the community.
“Without true partners like Schneck, we could not grow the city of Seymour,” he said.
Koch said Schneck provides enormous value to the community it serves.
“From charity care, which you provide for free or at a reduced cost, to the many programs and services you offer to meet the specific needs in the region you serve, these programs go well beyond these physical walls and include promoting health and wellness to help prevent chronic conditions, tackling issues to help in the disparities of care and addressing identified community health needs along with strengthening partnerships that promote well-being,” he said.
Miranda Whipker, Schneck’s director of health information, said she loves the addition.
“It’s an exciting time,” the Columbus woman said. “We’re growing. We have all these physicians, and we have to have somewhere to put them. It’s kind of the perfect place.”
Jay Fischer with SIHO said the professional building is awesome.
“The exam rooms are really well-done, spacious, very comfortable and well-appointed,” he said. “I think the workflows are going to be great for the provider staff as far as moving patients through and spending time with them.
Fischer said he thinks the professional building is a blessing for the community.
“Most communities of 20,000 people don’t have a hospital of this scope and scale, and it really just helps people from having to travel for specialty care,” he said.