KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Finishing touches are underway on the North Pavilion, the first phase of a $44.6 million expansion of Bronson Methodist Hospital’s campus in downtown Kalamazoo. Opening April 15, the facility will be Bronson’s third patient care pavilion and the new home of the Bronson BirthPlace and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). These units are moving from their current location on Bronson’s South Campus to make way for more private rooms for adult patients.
The expansion will help the hospital accommodate the 42 percent increase in inpatients it has experienced, particularly in adult cardiac, orthopedic, neurological and surgical care, since 2000 when the new hospital opened.
Bronson President & CEO Frank J. Sardone says, “I’d like to thank everyone in the community for the trust and confidence they have placed in Bronson. That support has allowed us to grow tremendously in recent years, not only in physical space, but also in overall quality and service. Today, Bronson is a national leader in healthcare quality because our community expects and deserves excellence, and our staff is motivated to do all they can for every patient and family, regardless of their ability to pay. As a community-owned hospital, you can count on us to keep reinvesting in Kalamazoo.”
The $44.6 million Bronson is investing in this project reflects the organization’s continuing dedication to economic development in downtown Kalamazoo. The project brings Bronson’s total investment in the development of its downtown facilities to over one quarter of a billion dollars in the last decade.
The current expansion includes $38.1 million for the North Pavilion development, $2.5 million for streetscape improvements on Healthcare Plaza to make it more accessible and pedestrian-friendly, and $4.0 million for a second phase development of 28 additional private rooms on the hospital’s South Campus by this fall. The project is expected to generate about 150 new jobs this year.
Moving into the fourth, fifth and a portion of the third floor of the new North Pavilion will be the Bronson BirthPlace and NICU. The Bronson BirthPlace will expand from 31 to 40 rooms allowing it to accommodate 4,000 obstetric patients per year compared to 3,200 previously. The NICU, which treats about 680 babies a year from throughout the region, will convert from a 45-bed nursery design to all-private rooms.
Bronson’s decision to design an all-private room NICU came after site visits to other leading hospitals and extensive research to understand the latest in best practice care for seriously ill or injured newborns. The research provided strong evidence that private rooms help reduce hospital-acquired infections, provide more control over sound, light, and temperature to support infant development, and offer more privacy for the family. Bronson’s own successful implementation of all-private rooms in its other patient care units also contributed to this new direction.
Bronson is one of only a half dozen hospitals in the country to have researched and pioneered this new NICU design and the results will be shared with other hospitals via the Pebble Project, a consortium of the Center for Health Design whose goal is to provide documented examples of how evidence-based design improves quality of care.
Other features of the North Pavilion include offices on the first floor for Bronson Women’s Service; Bronson Maternal-Fetal Medicine; and a private practice, Partners in Women’s Health. Support services such as lab and ultrasound are also incorporated along with the Terrace Café, a gift shop, breastfeeding center, concierge service and chapel. The building already includes two floors operating as patient care units. Select Specialty Hospital, a long-term acute care hospital, leases space on the second floor, and Bronson’s Adult Medical Unit occupies most of the third floor. Bronson is hoping to raise funds over the next few years so that The Children’s Hospital at Bronson and associated pediatric providers can move into the North Pavilion at a future date, allowing the building to then function as a dedicated women’s and children’s hospital.
Bronson’s facility development team, architects, and groups of managers, physicians, staff, and former patients have all been involved in North Pavilion planning since 2005. Their collective insight led to many of the conveniences and design features that will make this building a standout for its design and family-friendly features.
Bronson’s longstanding commitment to eco-friendly practices is also evident. The North Pavilion includes sustainable design features that support a healthy and healing environment. This includes access to nature, light and water features. It also includes using “green” materials such as rubber flooring, carpet made from nylon and corn-based polymer instead of petroleum, and using PVC-free products and low emitting materials. Bronson holds the Energy Star label from the Environmental Protection Agency and was selected in 2006 by the Green Guide as one of the nation’s top ten green hospitals.
Local firm Diekema Hamann worked on the North Pavilion in partnership with Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott, the Boston-based architectural firm that designed Bronson’s South Campus facilities. CSM Group of Galesburg served as construction manager for both projects. This teamwork ensures that the evidence-based design and healing features already established at Bronson are integrated throughout the new development.
Also in 2007, Bronson will begin a $3 million renovation of the former Upjohn building on Henrietta Street that was donated to the hospital by Pfizer in 2005. Known as Building 24, the three-story, 49,000 square foot office building served as Upjohn’s global headquarters from 1934 until 1961 and continued to be used for research offices until 2004. Located just across the street from the North Pavilion, it will be used as the main office for Bronson administration and associated support departments. It is expected to be ready for occupancy in mid-2008.
About Bronson Methodist Hospital
Bronson Methodist Hospital, located at 601 John St. in downtown Kalamazoo, Mich., is the flagship of Bronson Healthcare Group, a not-for-profit healthcare system serving all of southwest Michigan and northern Indiana. With 343 licensed beds and all private rooms, Bronson Methodist Hospital provides care in virtually every specialty—cardiology, orthopedics, surgery, emergency medicine, neurology, oncology—with advanced capabilities in critical care as a Level I Trauma Center; in neurological care as a JCAHO certified Primary Stroke Center; in cardiac care as the region’s only accredited Chest Pain Center; in obstetrics as the leading BirthPlace and only high-risk pregnancy center in southwest Michigan, and in pediatrics as one of only four children's hospitals in the state. The hospital is the recipient of the 2005 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest presidential honor for quality and organizational performance excellence, and was named one of the nation's 100 Top Hospitals for 2005 by Solucient.
Bronson Healthcare Group is one of Kalamazoo’s largest employers. For four consecutive years, it has been ranked by Working Mother magazine and for three straight years by FORTUNE as one of the nation’s 100 best companies to work for. With a workforce of more than 4,100, Bronson makes a significant contribution to the local economy. Annually, Bronson provides more than $48 million in community benefits through outreach and charitable care for the un- and under-insured. Bronson also serves the largest percentage of Medicaid patients of any Michigan hospital outside of the Detroit area.
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