Architects, planners work through design phase of Dixie Regional Medical Center expansion

ST. GEORGE — Design of Intermountain Healthcare’s Dixie Regional Medical Center expansion is underway as architects and Dixie Regional officials work to make the vision of doubling the size of the medical center a reality.

Steven Caplin, chairman of the DRMC governing board, said in an interview last week that the size and budget for the project are still fluid, but planners expect to meet a mid-2016 deadline for presenting the project for approval by the Intermountain board.

The project budget has grown from about $180 million to a now-projected $220 million for expansion of the River Road hospital campus. Planning for an $80 million cancer research and treatment facility is also underway.

“The intent of the new (cancer research) building is to support a certain amount of research related to this advanced genomics cancer treatment,” Caplin said, “and the conventional cancer treatment that’s already offered here in our community.”

The specialized center will complement the new Precision Genomics Laboratory that opened a year ago.

The size of the research facility is yet to be determined but is likely to have a minimum of 80,000-100,000 square feet.

The main project will likely add an additional 400,000 square feet to the medical center and will allow for relocation of other programs housed off-site.

“That expansion project does allow for the consolidation of all the clinical programs that are currently housed at our 400 East campus onto the main River Road campus,” Caplin said.

Those programs include women’s and children’s services, acute rehabilitation and behavioral medicine.

The expansion will include an increase in the number of patient beds and the addition of a patient observation unit. A significant investment in sophisticated new imaging equipment will also be made.

“We also expect we’ll make an investment in improved parking and access to the buildings,” Caplin said.

Caplin believes the newly expanded DRMC will provide benefits for staff as well as patients.

“Providing them with more space and better equipment will allow them to be more productive and provide a higher level of care,” he said.

Consolidation of clinical disciplines in one location also will eliminate a commute between the two current campuses for physicians and caregivers.

The expansion and upgrade are projected to be complete sometime in 2018. Once the new facility opens, patients in Southern Utah will have access to all advanced medical care programs including neonatal intensive care, advanced cancer services, cardiovascular care, neurosciences and the new Level II Trauma Center. Only pediatric intensive care and a trauma burn unit will be missing from the roster.

“The kind of health care we have in Southern Utah is unusually excellent for a community of our size,” Caplin said. “In fact, it’s superb for a community much larger than our current size.”

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