Indianapolis Construction Update

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Food & Nutrition services to transform in new location

The staff of Food & Nutrition Services is gearing up for an expanded cafeteria and eating locations when the new bed tower opens on the Indianapolis campus.

When complete, employees and visitors will have three dining options at the Indianapolis campus. The cafeteria will be centrally located in the new bed tower, where most visitors and employees will be located.

But that’s not the only option. Jazzman’s Café will remain in its present location by the Gift Shop in the Women & Children’s Services lobby. A third option – a European-style bakery – is being considered. Rather than solely provide take-out, the bakery also would include sit-down booths and would be located on the second floor near where the cafeteria is located currently.

Improved patient experiences

Relocating the cafeteria to the bed tower and potentially adding a bakery in the current cafeteria location aren’t the only changes that will result in saving time. When the new kitchen opens, it will have the added advantage of having a centralized elevator to more quickly get patient trays to the rooms. And the kitchen will have two room service lines to more quickly manage patient requests

Monday, November 16, 2009

Exterior nearing completion; workers to move indoors

With winter approaching, the first order of business for workers on the construction site is to enclosethe new patient tower.

The tower crane, originally installed in May 2008, was removed the first weekend in October. The two-day processwent without a hitch, according to Brian Phillips, project manager. Another 550-ton truck-mounted crane, brought on site to dismantle and remove it, came with a 135-foot main boom and a 308,000-pound counterweight. The heaviest section of the 17-piece tower crane weighed 34,000 pounds.

By mid-October, the roof, ceilings and concrete for the floors had been installed where the crane once stood within the patient tower.

By mid-November, the outer concrete panels and glass—the “skin” of the building—will be installed, and the air handlers will be operational. At that time, more construction workers will be on site to continue work inside.

In 2011, the basement and first three floors of the new addition will be finishedand ready to be occupied by the Emergency Department, Cafeteria, Environmental Services, Surgery, Education Department, Nursing Administration and other services.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Media weigh in on construction news

Recent headlines on the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services' decision to ramp up construction at the Indianapolis campus include:

WIBC: Indianapolis Hospital Calls Off Expansion Halt
Sept. 26, 2009
An Indianapolis hospital is going ahead with a $260 million expansion project that it said six months ago it was halting.

Indianapolis Star: St. Francis Hospital resumes expansion project
Sept. 25, 2009
In a sign the economy is rebounding, St. Francis Hospital and Health Center is resuming construction of a $265 million expansion at its Far-Southside hospital.

Inside Indiana Business: St. Francis to Resume Construction Project
Sept. 25, 2009
St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is resuming a normal construction schedule on an inpatient bed tower at its Indianapolis campus.

Indianapolis Business Journal: St. Francis resumes work on $265M project
Sept. 24, 2009
With its financial performance exceeding expectations, St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers will resume construction on a $265 million, 221-bed patient tower at its Indianapolis campus, the hospital system announced Thursday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Indianapolis construction project picks up pace

St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is moving ahead again on the construction of an inpatient bed tower at its campus on the far south side of Indianapolis.

“It is with great pleasure that we announce construction is resuming with the St. Francis Hospital Indianapolis campus consolidation project,” said Robert J. Brody, president and chief executive officer. “Construction had been delayed because of the turbulent economic environment. Though at the time, the delay was disappointing, it was determined that a fiscally conservative approach was most appropriate.

“Today the situation has improved,” Brody added. “After careful and ongoing evaluation of key economic indicators and the financial performance of the hospital, the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Board of Trustees voted to resume the project at full steam ahead. We are most grateful for the board’s confidence and support.”

St. Francis officials last March announced the postponement of the project until there were visible signs of an improved economy.

“Throughout these past long months of unprecedented economic challenges, the dedication, stewardship and loyalty of our St. Francis family has been a guiding and stabilizing influence in our ability to respond positively to the environment while continuing to move our mission forward,” said Chief Operating Officer Keith Jewell, who has been overseeing much of the project since its inception in 2007.

Although considerably slowed, the work never did come to a standstill. In recent months, much of the exterior of the bed tower has been finished and some windows and framing put in place.Tonn and Blank Construction of Indianapolis and Michigan City is performing the work.

New features and additions included in the consolidation are:

  • 221 inpatient beds in the six-story bed tower (177 medical-surgical, 30 intensive care, 14 observation)
  • New and renovated outpatient surgery area, adding 10 new suites, and a café near the waiting area
  • New and expanded emergency department with 68 treatment rooms, a satellite laboratory, CT scan and ultrasound rooms-- New pharmacy area and expanded lab services
  • Expanded imaging services
  • Areas for nursing administration, medical staff offices, medical staff library and respiratory therapy
  • New hyberbaric chamber used for wound care
  • New cafeteria
  • New main entrance located on the east side of the facility

More than 1,600 new parking spaces already have been added at the hospital campus.

The consolidation is part of an overall plan to migrate inpatient and other services from St. Francis-Beech Grove to the Indianapolis hospital.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Recession forces St. Francis to delay Indianapolis project

Citing the turbulent economy and its reeling effects on south-central Indiana, St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has announced postponement of construction at the inpatient bed tower at its Indianapolis campus.

St. Francis officials announced that action March 11, emphasizing that construction will resume as the economy improves.

“Traditionally, hospitals have avoided such economic slumps, but that paradigm no longer exists,” said Robert J. Brody, St. Francis president and chief executive officer. “St. Francis is fortunate that it has a strong financial foundation because of its conservative planning and strong stewardship of its resources. This decision helps to reinforce our sound footing.”

The decision to postpone further construction will help shield the hospital system from the most negative effects of the recession and continue to provide health care to the patients St. Francis serves at not only Indianapolis, but also its campuses in Beech Grove and Mooresville.

At present, the concrete pouring at each of the floors of the inpatient bed tower is nearly complete and work to enclose the exterior is expected to be finished by mid-summer. At that time, the remaining construction will be put on hold. The overall project is about 40 percent complete.

The slowdown of construction and other capital projects is reverberating nationally with hospital systems. The American Hospital Association reported in January that nearly half of hospitals nationwide have put capital projects on hold, and many have stopped projects already in process. A January report from the Healthcare Financial Management Association places the number of postponements or cancellations at an even higher estimate of 78 percent.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chat addresses your questions about Indianapolis construction, Beech Grove campus

Welcome to the first St. Francis online chat with Chief Operating Officer Keith Jewell. Keith will answer your questions about the Indianapolis construction project and the possible future uses of St. Francis Hospital-Beech Grove after medical services are consolidated at the Indianapolis campus in early 2011. The chat will continue until 1 p.m.

As a reminder, this chat session is a real conversation. For this reason, you should observe the same etiquette in the chat session as you would in day-to-day conversation.If you are new to using this site, to post a comment or question, please click on the link that says “Comments.”

Due to the anticipated number of questions and comments posted, there may be a small delay between the time your question is submitted and the time it is viewable on the blog.

Guidelines for posting comments

  • Please keep comments and questions civil. We will not accept insulting groups or individuals.

  • Reporters who visit the site and want to pose questions are asked to identify themselves and their news organizations.

  • St. Francis cannot comment on official business on the part of the cities of Indianapolis, Beech Grove or Greenwood, nor on the Beech Grove Redevelopment Commission. We have extended an invitation to Beech Grove Mayor Joe Wright, who is out of town but at this time is planning to be available on the blog to answer questions relating to the city’s role in the Beech Grove campus redevelopment.

  • If you have comments or concerns regarding your patient experience at St. Francis, please complete this form to reach our Service Excellence department.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

St. Francis COO answers questions about construction

Whether watching from a downtown Indy skyscraper or seeing the crane as you drive along I-65, you’ve likely seen the construction at the St. Francis Hospital—Indianapolis campus. And, you may want to know more about what this means for your health care, particularly at this uncertain time in the economy.

That’s why we’re opening up this blog to your questions. St. Francis’ Chief Operating Officer Keith Jewell will be on hand from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 3, to answer your questions about the construction project and what it means for medical services on the Indianapolis south side. Please take advantage of this opportunity to join in the conversation.

This chat session is very much a real conversation. For this reason we ask that you observe the same etiquette when participating in the chat session as you would in day-to-day conversation.

Those who would like to post comments should observe some simple conversational guidelines below. St. Francis reserves the right to delete comments we think may be offensive to the audience at large.

If you are unable to participate in the chat session, you can e-mail your questions to the St. Francis Community Relations team by 10 a.m. on Feb 3, and we will address many of your questions during our session.

Thank you, and we look forward to hearing from you!

Guidelines for posting comments

  • Please keep comments and questions civil. We will not accept insulting groups or individuals.
  • We cannot comment on official business on the part of the cities of Indianapolis, Beech Grove or Greenwood, nor on the Beech Grove Redevelopment Commission.
  • If you have comments or concerns regarding your patient experience at St. Francis, please complete this form to reach our Service Excellence department.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Construction doesn’t freeze in winter weather

While Indianapolis braces for bitter wind chills and several inches of snow, construction continues to heat up on the St. Francis Hospital–Indianapolis patient bed tower, where steel soon will be erected on the fourth and fifth floors.

Crews are taking added steps to protect the safety of their teams and the materials during these frigid temperatures, said Brian Phillips, construction manager with Tonn & Blank Construction, who is managing the construction project.

Just like anyone who goes outside, construction crew members take care to dress in layers and protect their skin during hazardous weather. “It’s no different than going skiing,” Phillips said.

What is different is their work day. More than an hour of any work day may be spent simply getting supplies prepped and safely ready to work with. But snow, ice and cold temperatures can get in the way.

“There’s quite a bit of time warming up equipment, de-icing and shoveling snow,” Phillips said.

Other steps must be taken to ensure that construction materials such as fireproofing and concrete do not freeze in below-freezing temperatures. Freeze-guard additives, heaters and construction drapes all help keep products in good working condition.

“Some of the areas actually get pretty warm,” Phillips said. “You’ll see some workers strip off their coats and work in T-shirts, even in this weather.”