Northside Hospital-Forsyth's expansion by the numbers
* 64 beds added
* 3 floors added, two for patient care
* 60 jobs created
* $30 million cost of the project
* 77,975 square feet added
* 14 years of consistent growth at campus in Cumming
CUMMING -- On the top two floors of the tallest building in Forsyth County, the county’s only skyscraper, Lynn Jackson disclaimed with triumph, the experience is made in the details.
The details of the couches having an adjustable table and an option to fold the back cushion into a cot. The details of the folded towel and welcome card from the hospitality staff that sits on the bed, waiting for an incoming patient. The details of having a grab bar along the wall from the bed to the bathroom to prevent falls.
The experience, though in a perfect world no one would have to have it, on the new floors at Northside Hospital-Forsyth is in the details that Jackson, the hospital’s administrator, and the staff decided would take the institutional feel of a hospital away.
“We wanted everything to have an open feel,” said Jackson as she pointed out the smaller nurse stations that there are more of on these floors.
The smaller stations reduce chatter while putting staff in more locations and closer to their patients.
Floor No. 7 is for oncology, and Floor No. 8 is for post-surgical patients, with each having 32 beds. Floor No. 6 was also built in this most recent expansion to house air conditioning and heating units.
There is even a fire command center in the building now — the only such room on-site in the county, as regulations require it for high-rises.
Upgrades and new designs were incorporated into almost every aspect of the $30 million, 77,975-square-foot upward expansion, from the meditation room near the elevators to the safe boxes in the patient rooms to the large windows that stream natural light and views overlooking Ga. 400 and the city into every room.
“Some people are going through difficult times,” Jackson said. “We wanted a space where they could just come and be, or where the doctors can sit down with the family and be in private.”
The additions almost make the experience equate to a stay at a hotel – the staff picked out the art and the wallpaper. There is a multipurpose activity room with a weight bench and a full-length mirror, a walk-in shower in each room, drawers under the couch to keep belongings and USB ports on outlets.
“We do have a little bit of a longer stay here. We want to give them a great experience because if you have a seven-day chemo stay, there’s only so much you want to do,” said Niti Patel, manager of oncology services at the hospital.
The expansion created 60 new jobs, with 25 staff members assigned to each floor at any given time, Jackson said.
The Forsyth campus has been under some form of growth and expansion for the past 14 years, she said.
“If you think about the future generations a hospital serves,” she said, “the number of people and the number of people we don’t even know yet, this will affect everyone.”