Northside Hospital-Forsyth is reaching new heights.
By the end of next year, the hospital’s surgical center will be five stories tall.
Construction began in July to add two floors to the two-story building. And on Monday the hospital received permission from the state to add a fifth story.
Hospital spokesman Russ Davis said “[staff] fully anticipated approval” of the $6.7 million fifth-floor project
“The volume and continued use of that facility continues to be very, very strong to support this expansion," he said.
By the end of both phases of construction, the hospital will have 155 medical/surgical inpatient beds and some ancillary support areas.
The timing of the state's decision worked out well, Davis said. Construction company Batson-Cook can just continue its work and add the fifth floor.
“It’s more economical to build all at once like this than to build two floors and then to come back a year later and build one more new floor,” Davis said.
Phase one, which includes the third and fourth floors, is costing about $17 million and includes renovating about 6,000 square feet of space and adding more than 37,400 square feet to the surgical center.
The second phase, or fifth floor, involves about 16,800 square feet of new construction.
In total, the hospital is converting 21 observation beds into inpatient beds and adding 22 new inpatient beds to support growth.
Northside's certificate of need was approved Monday by the Department of Community Health.
Approval is required of health systems seeking to add new medical services. The process is lengthy, but helps avoid duplication of expensive services and evenly distributes medical care statewide.
Davis said the hospital saw inpatient admissions increase by 172 percent between 2001 and 2008.
In addition, data shows the senior citizen population of Forsyth and Dawson counties will rise by nearly 59 percent between 2009 and 2014.
To keep up with demand, Davis said the hospital expects to add about 260 full-time employees to its staff by the end of 2012. The hiring process for additional staff has begun.
Some of the new construction could be complete and in use as early as March 1. Other areas, Davis said, will be occupied in stages.
"Northside Hospital-Forsyth is pleased to be able to expand its facilities yet again to continue providing the community with exceptional health care services," he said.
"The continued growth and utilization of the hospital is testament to all the hard work and dedication of the hospital staff, physicians and volunteers.”