Gary Methodist to break ground on $10 million renovation - September 25, 2015

Courtesy of NWI Times

September 25, 2015 5:00 am • Giles Bruce giles.bruce@nwi.com, (219) 853-2584

GARY | Methodist Hospitals will break ground soon on a renovation of its emergency department and intensive-care unit, part of a $31 million revamping of the Gary hospital.

The hospital system intends to start construction on the Northlake Campus ER next month with an October 2016 completion date.

Methodist is hosting a bidding event Monday for local and minority subcontractors interested in getting involved with the project.

“We want to be transparent with the community in terms of what we’re doing and make sure we open up opportunities to minority vendors and other vendors in the greater Gary metropolitan area,” said Ray Grady, CEO of Methodist Hospitals.

The $10 million renovation of the Gary ER is projected to start a 10-year, $134 million upgrade of Methodist’s facilities in Gary and Merrillville. The hospital system recently received approval from the U.S. Office of Civil Rights to move forward with the project, a result of a 1979 consent degree requiring Methodist provide the same level of services at both hospitals.

“Although the proposed expenditures are heavily tilted toward Southlake over Northlake, OCR concludes that the construction projects … are ‘equitable,'” the Office of Civil Rights wrote in its letter approving the project last month. “All of the expenditures fulfill need for the Hospital’s diverse patient bases within the service areas from which the Hospital draws its patients.”

As part of the 10-year master plan, $103 million would be spent on the Southlake hospital for a new patient tower, while $31 million would go toward the Gary facility. Later construction is expected to include patient floor renovations and a new medical office building.

Methodist argued the Merrillville campus was in need of more work.

The project that starts next month will include renovating the Gary Methodist emergency department, creating a new 12-bed intensive-care unit and, in place of the old one, creating a six-bed trauma and surgical ICU. The Northlake campus is the only state-designated trauma center in Northwest Indiana.

“The intention is to improve the aesthetics of the areas but also improve the design to make it more efficient and allow for an increased flow of patients through the system,” said Wright Alcorn, vice president of operations for Methodist Hospitals.

“Overall, it will improve and increase the capacity of our emergency department to see patients.”

Grady said work will begin on the Southlake campus once Methodist secures financing for it.