Mercy Medical Center plans to expand its emergency department and replace a long-standing McDonald’s on the campus with a Subway restaurant as part of a major renovation project.
The Canton hospital is finalizing plans for a $14.5 million renovation and construction effort that will increase the size of the ER from 33 beds to 48 beds in all private rooms, according to hospital officials.
The project includes renovations to the hospital’s lobby and concourse area, an expanded admitting area and new outpatient laboratory, as well as a Subway to replace a McDonald’s that recently closed, said Lynne Dragomier, Mercy’s vice president for public relations and marketing.
If plans are approved by the hospital’s board this month, construction could begin in January and be completed 15 to 18 months later, Mercy President and Chief Executive Thomas E. Cecconi said this week.
Mercy plans to pay for the project with donations and through hospital operations, Cecconi said.
“Philanthropy will be a big part of it,” he said. “We have already raised over $5 million.”
To make room for the expansion, Mercy opted not to renew its lease with McDonald’s operator Siegfried Enterprises when the lease expired last month, Cecconi said.
Although some hospitals have fought the fast-food giant for health reasons, Mercy’s CEO insists the move was all about space, not saturated fats.
“McDonald’s was here for many, many years,” he said. “We had a really great relationship with them. Unfortunately, we needed more space for our own services than we currently have with McDonald’s operations here. We talked with them, we did not renew their lease and we’re going to be going with Subway, which will actually take half or less the space that McDonald’s has with pretty much the same seating capacity.”
The Subway location at the hospital is expected to open by April, Cecconi said. In the meantime, Mercy’s cafeteria and coffee cart, the Holy Grounds, have expanded their hours.
Officials with Siegfried Enterprises declined to comment.
Many ERs here and nationwide continue to face a space crisis as the number of patients served each year far exceeds the amount they were constructed to handle.
Mercy’s emergency department was designed to see about 40,000 patients annually but now treats about 65,000 people per year, Cecconi said.
“It’s very, very needed,” Cecconi said of the planned expansion.
Experts predict ER use will continue to increase in the upcoming years as more uninsured Americans gain coverage through federal health-care reform. As a result, emergency department upgrades are among the most common construction and renovation projects at hospitals nationwide.
About 29 percent of hospitals plan to renovate their emergency departments or construct new facilities within the next three years, according to a national survey of hospitals published earlier this year by Health Facilities Management magazine.
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or email@example.com. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.