Burnsville, Minn., Hospital to Get Major Expansion

To fill the demand for health care in a rapidly growing south metro, Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville, Minn., is undergoing the second phase in a three-part expansion project. Hospital officials will have a groundbreaking ceremony today for the expansion which will include more operating rooms, two additional floors, a critical care unit, and expanded preparation and distribution areas.

The $30 million phase likely will be completed within a year, said Fairview Ridges Hospital Vice President Brian Knapp. The three-part project is estimated to cost more than $100 million. When completed, hospital officials hope to have more specialized oncology and cardiology departments, and a women's unit for surgery patients.

"As the needs of the community change, we become more specialized to them. They want more services out here. They want us to add to our capabilities," said Fairview Ridges Hospital President Sara Criger.

The hospital's outpatient and inpatient numbers continue to grow at least 5 percent each year, Criger said. Fairview Ridges is the largest hospital in the south metro. About 85 percent of its patients are from Scott and Dakota counties. Last year, the hospital served 106,438 admission and outpatient visits.

The focus for phase two is to increase the 21-year-old facility's ability to handle more surgeries, Criger said. The expansion will include four new operating rooms for a total of 12. Additional rooms will provide needed space to update equipment in older rooms.

More operating rooms meant the hospital needed more licensed beds for patients, Criger said. About 19 additional beds will be added on a new fifth floor of the bedtower. The 72,000-square-foot expansion also will include an added sixth floor, which will be left unfinished for now. After the expansion, the hospital will be working under maximum capacity of 150 licensed beds.

The new fifth-floor patient rooms will be a third larger than current rooms to provide more space for caregivers and family visits, Knapp said. On older floors, there are 43 to 48 beds per floor compared with only about 19 on the new fifth floor. The project also will include installing new heating, ventilation and air conditioning to all patient rooms.

The new critical care unit, located on the third floor, for patients requiring ventilation or close monitoring will be completed by the end of the year. The rooms are built double the size of current intensive care rooms, Knapp said.

Hospital officials also considered building a new parking ramp during phase two, but plans changed when officials decided to postpone building a second bedtower to the south. The new tower likely will be part of the project's third phase, which could begin as early as 2007. There will be 89 new parking spaces for phase two still exceeding the city's requirement for parking, Knapp said.

Phase one of the project was completed in 2002. It included increasing the number of emergency rooms from 20 to 35 rooms, adding a new and expanded labor and delivery department, and renovating the main entrance and dining room.

Knapp said the project has made the hospital "more family and caregiver focused."

(c) 2005 Associated Press