Nearly five years after the $246 million construction project began, Baptist Health Lexington's new hospital is almost completed and under budget, although officials won't say by how much.
Equipment has to be loaded into rooms, finishes need to be completed and signage has to be installed. But the bones of the building — the rooms, a nearly 400-space underground garage, electrical systems and ports for equipment — are nearly ready for use.
The hospital is scheduled to be completed this fall. The intensive care unit will move into the new space the first week of December; mothers and babies on the second and third weeks of December; medical and surgical units in January, and the cancer center in early 2016.
The hospital will have the same number of beds as the current hospital — 383 — but the rooms will be private. When hospital construction began, Bill Sisson, chief executive of the hospital, then called Central Baptist, said he was particularly proud of the move to all-private patient rooms.
Also new are the high-capacity lifts: They can manage patients as heavy as 1,000 pounds, thus lessening the stress and possible injury on nurses who have to move patients.
The newborn intensive care unit will include private rooms for babies with complicated medical needs. Rooms also will be available to accommodate twins, triplets and more.
A private obstetric practice is also expected to move into the hospital.
Patients bound for oncology and radiology will have the option of going directly from a parking garage to their appointments rather than having to go outdoors. Patients being discharged will have a more private exit.
Each room will have electronic signage detailing the patient's condition and special cautions for visitors. Inside the room, an electronic signboard will give information about the patient's doctor and care staff and even meal offerings.
Television screens as big as 46 inches will be available on a rotating arm so patients and visitors around the room can watch. Each room will have a nurses' work station.
Bathrooms include counter space for patient toiletries and a shower whose floor tilts slightly so water does not drain into the rest of the room. Robert Canina, regional executive director of facility construction for Baptist Health, knows the drain works. He took a shower to test it.
The Baptist hospital has been on Nicholasville Road since 1954, when it opened as a $2.5 million building with 173 beds and two delivery rooms. Then, it was viewed as being out in the country. Now, it's next to the University of Kentucky-and just about downtown.
Directional signs are an area that is getting a lot of attention in the new hospital, said Canina. From brochures, maps, marked entrances and signs, he said, "We have spent a lot of time on the mechanics of wayfinding."
When the building is fully operational, administrators can turn their attention to working on a plan for what to do with the older hospital building, he said.