WellStar Kennestone Hospital is in the thick of constructing a new emergency department building on the outskirts of downtown Marietta.
Saturday, a two-story, 72-foot pedestrian bridge was lowered into position, connecting the main hospital with the $126 million emergency department. The bridge is 129.5 feet long and 15 feet wide, said Rick Kulik, construction project manager.
Mary Chatman, president of WellStar Kennestone Hospital, said the bridge, which spans Church Street near Cherry Street, will serve as the “gateway” into the city. The city’s “M” will be displayed prominently on the bridge, and Chatman said the new building will blend in with the surrounding community’s aesthetics.
Kennestone’s existing emergency department is about 50 years old and was designed to treat 66,000 patients each year, but it gets more than 142,000 visits annually. The new emergency department will accommodate up to 185,000 patients annually in its first phase and up to 220,000 once it’s complete. It will also include four CT scan machines for emergency patients, MRI, x-ray and ultrasound departments.
“We’re moving along very well,” Kulik said, adding the anticipated opening date of mid-2020 depends on the weather.
Chatman went on to say that the new building will go hand-in-hand with WellStar’s commitment to providing comprehensive care for its patients. The new facility will also have a dedicated mental health unit, she said, which will allow the hospital to provide a “level of dignity” to the care of patients struggling with those issues.
“It’s a really good model for us to have patient- and family-centered care, and we are able to care for [people in] all walks of life,” she said.
Along with its Kennestone hospital, WellStar is also preparing to open new health care facilities in Acworth and Cherokee County. A new outpatient center is under construction at Acworth Health Park, and WellStar’s Cherokee Health Park is coming out of the ground in Holly Springs. Both of those projects are expected to wrap up in late summer 2019.
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