In response to high demand for healthcare throughout the region and requests from community members for obstetrics and newborn services in the Bethlehem area, Lehigh Valley Health Network is planning construction of a new four-story pavilion on the Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg campus in Bethlehem, Pa., according to a news release.
The new 161,000 square-foot pavilion will include obstetrics and newborn services that will accommodate about 2,000 deliveries annually. The pavilion also will include a Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation and shell space to accommodate future growth. according to the release.
The project cost is $93.6 million. Groundbreaking is tentatively planned for September 2015, with the building expected to be open by July 1, 2017. Construction costs will be paid through a combination of capital funding from LVHN and philanthropic gifts from community members. The project is expected to create about 225 new construction jobs and about 185 new patient care jobs at LVH–Muhlenberg, according to the release.
“The number of births rises each year at LVH–Cedar Crest, and we now accommodate more than 4,000 births annually at that location,” LVHN president and chief executive officer Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP, said in the release. “In the last five years, the number of deliveries involving Northampton County mothers has increased by almost 25%. Currently, 16% of all births at LVH-Cedar Crest involve Northampton County mothers.”
Nester said by expanding high-quality obstetrics care to LVH–Muhlenberg, LVHN is filling a need and giving people from Northampton County and the surrounding area an option to have their babies closer to home. The network also is expanding rehabilitation services in response to a need for inpatient-specific rehabilitation on the LVH-Muhlenberg campus.
Floors two and three of the new pavilion will be reserved for obstetrics and newborn services, which will include a mother-baby unit with 20 private rooms; a nursery with 16 bassinettes; a Level II NICU with 10 private rooms; eight state-of-the-art labor, delivery and recovery rooms; two operating rooms; five obstetrics triage beds; a three-bay post-anesthesia care unit area; and a four-bed antepartum unit. Floor one will be home to the Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation–Muhlenberg, which will include 28 rehabilitation beds and is similar to the Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation–Cedar Crest currently under construction inside the Kasych Family Pavilion at LVH–Cedar Crest in Salisbury Township, according to the release.
The fourth floor of the new pavilion will be shelled and reserved for potential future growth. The project also will include increased parking and improvements to roads near the facility, according to the release.
“This new pavilion will allow LVHN to create an ideal patient- and family-centered experience for moms-to-be and their families,” Mary Bianchi, vice president of LVHN’s women’s and children’s service line, said in the release. “This will add to the women’s health care services in maternal fetal medicine, cardiology, gynecologic oncology, urogynecology and Breast Health Services already available at LVH–Muhlenberg.”
The new pavilion will be built on the south side of the campus, and will be connected to the main hospital through the existing South Tower lobby and the former hospital cafeteria. The project calls for the removal of the Banko Community Center, which is used for conference space, community events and for behavioral health programs, according to the release. The conference space for community events will be incorporated into renovations to the LVH–Muhlenberg south lobby that are a part of this project. The behavioral health program will relocate to 2710 Schoenersville Rd.