North Arundel Hospital breaks ground for expansion GLEN BURNIE

March 02, 1993|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

Things were so busy at North Arundel Hospital yesterday that many nurses wore their scrubs to a ceremony to break ground for the hospital's addition.

As speakers said the hospital in Glen Burnie needs more operating rooms to accommodate a burgeoning number of patients, the nurses nodded.

With a few shovelfuls of dirt scooped by hospital officials, the facility has embarked on its third expansion project, a $13 million renovation and addition.

The project will add a 3 1/2 -story, 318-car garage linked by a walkway to the hospital; add six operating rooms to the existing seven, with a "shell" remaining for one more; double the number of pre-surgery preparation areas to 14; double the size of the endoscopy department; add a large central sterile supply area for the surgery department; and enlarge and relocate such areas as ambulatory surgery and the pharmacy. Overall, it will add 20,000 square feet in operating room space and 5,300 for the new pharmacy.

The changes, which will be made over 22 months, will modernize the 27-year-old hospital and allow it to accommodate the community's surgery needs for the next decade, said James R. Walker, the hospital's president and chief operating officer.

The seven existing operating rooms are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., although surgeries commonly keep them running later. Even so, operations have to be postponed for lack of time and space.

"We usually wait about two weeks before elective surgery," said Dr. Sergio Alvarez, chairman of the surgery department.

"These are areas of the hospital where our patient volumes are way in excess of what we can serve at the hospital," Mr. Walker said.

In 1991, 9,939 operations were performed at the hospital.

"I'm sure as time goes on, we will have more groundbreakings," Wilfred T. Azar, chairman of the board of directors, told the approximately 100 people at the ceremony.

The hospital is in the midst of a long-range planning study, Mr. Walker said. Among expansions under consideration are an education center, a cancer center and enlarging the emergency room, he said.

The hospital plans to close its 12-bed chemical dependency unit in June, leaving the county with no hospital facility where people can undergo the early stages of withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. The hospital expects to lose $1.5 million from that unit in the fiscal year ending in June.

The latest expansion is being financed through the sale of 30-year, tax-exempt bonds.

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