Lehigh Valley Hospital holds ceremony for placement of final steel beam for new ER
With the traditional evergreen on one end and an American flag on the other end, steelworkers Nov. 21 hoisted the final steel beam into place for the skeleton of a state-of-the-art acute care facility at the Lehigh Valley Hospital Cedar Crest campus, along Cedar Crest Boulevard at Interstate 78.
The project includes an expanded adult emergency department and a new observation unit scheduled to be complete in late 2020 and an expanded children’s emergency room and observation unit scheduled to open in mid-2021.
Hospital officials said about 90,000 people receive care in the adult emergency room and children’s emergency room every year and the expansion is driven in response to growing community needs.
Dr. David Burmeister, chair of the Department of Emergency and Hospital Medicine, told those gathered for the traditional “topping” ceremony the facility will increase the number of adult emergency room beds from 42 to 97 and children’s beds from 12 to 27. “It will include three trauma bays, bringing the total number of beds to 127,” he said.
“For patients who need additional care, but do not require an inpatient hospital stay, this facility includes a 59-bed observation unit for adults and a 12-bed-observation unit for pediatric patients adjacent to the emergency room.
The adult emergency room and observation units are being built as modules, each with 12 beds. As patient volumes fluctuate, modules can be opened and closed to ensure patients receive care as efficiently as possible, Burmeister said.
Having the flexibility to have up to 151 emergency department beds makes Lehigh Valley Hospital the largest emergency room in Pennsylvania, Burmeister said.
About 700 tons of steel were used to frame the building, which is 650 feet long. It will include 4.5 miles of medical gas piping and about 18,000 sheet of drywall will be hung inside in the coming months.