Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast unveils proposal for $264 million construction, renovation project

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Kathy Chaffin
CONCORD ó Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast announced plans Tuesday to build an eight-floor patient tower and add a second story to its surgery center.
Carolinas HealthCare System, parent company of the medical center, filed a certificate of need application for the project with the N.C. Division of Health Service Regulation on Monday. The proposed project includes 424,950 square feet of new construction and 79,140 square feet of renovations and is projected to cost $264 million.
Mark Nantz, president of CMC-NorthEast, said the building project would enable the medical center “to care for patients who require a higher level of care than available at a community hospital. We will also continue in our essential role as the safety net hospital for this growing region of North Carolina.”
Scott White, spokesman for Carolinas HealthCare, said, “I think people who are in the region to be served by this will be delighted.”
White said the new patient tower ó which will be double the size of the medical center’s tallest structure ó will feature the latest state-of-the-art equipment.
Rooms will be designed to be both patient-friendly and staff-friendly, he said. “We want the caregivers to be very comfortable working with patients and caring for them.”
The new patient tower will house cardiac, maternity, oncology, interventional radiology and nuclear medicine, renal (kidney) and general medical/surgical beds.
Additionally, renovations are proposed to the first and second floors of the Mariam Cannon Hayes Family Center to house neurosciences, general medical/surgical and observation units.
A decision on the certificate of need application is expected by the end of February 2009. With anticipated approval, the first phase ó the second-floor addition to the surgery center ó is projected to be open in January 2011.
Phase two ó the eight-story tower ń is targeted for opening in mid-2013, and renovation of the Mariam Cannon Hayes Center for January 2014.
“We’ve had really good support from our physicians,” White said. “More than 200 of them have written letters of support already.”
Dr. Tim Wax, chief of the NorthEast medical staff, said “This newly-proposed addition to our inpatient facility is particularly welcomed by all of our medical staff as it will provide a significantly improved healing environment for our hospitalized patients.”
White said the project was part of NorthEast’s long-range plan. “So we’ve continuously had discussions about it since we put the merger together in 2007.”
Michael C. Tarwater, chief executive officer of Carolinas HealthCare, said the former NorthEast board and leadership team had tremendous vision and foresight in developing the plan.
“It is an important and perfectly logical next step in the evolution of CMC-NE as a true tertiary medical center and regional hub for healthcare,” he said.
CMC-NorthEast was founded in 1937 as Cabarrus Memorial Hospital, said Ralph Barnhardt, former chairman of the medical center’s board of directors.
“These facilities have served this community well,” he said, “but the time has come to update and improve them as we move into an exciting future with a growing reach and expanding capabilities to care for sicker patients.”