Officials hope hospital work begins by year’s end

Published 10:00 am Sunday, September 15, 2013

LSU Bogalusa Medical Center is preparing to enter the contracting process on its emergency room expansion and renovation project, something that has been four years in the making.

Chief Executive Officer Kurt Scott said bids were opened Aug. 27, and the low bid was from Anzalone Construction Co. The hospital is currently working with the Bogalusa Medical Center Foundation to review the bids and begin the contracting process, he said.

As an LSU facility, the hospital also has to work through the state Office of Facility Planning and Controls during the process.

Scott said he hopes to see the project under contract within the next month to six weeks after all agencies involved have given their approval. He said the goal is to break ground before the end of the year. The project should take about 18 months to complete.

The project has approximately $6 million in construction value and approximately $7.5 million in total project costs, including things such as design fees, equipment and furniture.

Scott said the project involves about 15,000 square feet, half of that renovation and half new construction. The project will essentially double the size of the hospital’s emergency department, he said.

The number of beds in the emergency department will increase from eight to 16, and there will be a new lobby and waiting area and a new waiting room for patients, Scott said.

“We will also have up-to-date, modern emergency room facilities to be able to better serve the patients in the community,” he said.

Scott said he is appreciative of the support Sen. Ben Nevers and Rep. Harold Ritchie have provided during the project.

“They helped us secure the capital outlay funds that are making this project possible for the community,” he said.

LSUBMC has been working on the project about four years. Scott said it took a while to get funding lined up and the designs in place, and he is excited to be at the point where it looks like construction will be starting soon.

Scott said the hospital’s emergency room is one of the busiest in the area, seeing about 30,000 patients each year. With just eight beds the emergency room is currently undersized, he said.

“For the volume that we see it should be double the size,” he said. “That’s what we’re hopefully going to accomplish when we get this project finished. I think the community will really find a first-class facility that will be designed to more efficiently handle any needs that people in the area have for emergency services.”

The project will not be affected by any possible operational changes at the hospital, Scott said. LSUBMC is currently working with a potential private partner, and he said that facility is excited about and supportive of the upcoming renovations.

“This project will go forward in coordination with any changes we have here at the hospital,” he said.

Scott said the emergency room has been a major focus for a while, and the project will correct the problem of it being undersized for the hospital’s volume of visits. An emergency room is a hospital’s front door to the community in many ways, he added.

“This project will allow us to greatly improve the service we provide now,” he said.