On the southeast side of Chandler Regional Medical Center, a helicopter used to sit parked on land that is currently all dug up. That’s one memory Dr. Brian Tiffany, chief of the hospital’s medical staff, recalled when he started at the facility in 2003.
The helicopter was for flying patients with emergency conditions, including heart attacks or strokes, to other hospitals where they could receive the proper care.
That has since changed. Now, Tiffany said, the hospital is staffed with top-notch cardiovascular and neurological experts who can give the necessary care on the spot, knocking precious minutes of the races to save lives.
Chandler Regional took another step Friday in its development, and toward serving a community that has grown immensely since Tiffany’s arrival. That step: a steel-raising ceremony near the construction site of the hospital’s 171,000-square-foot addition.
The new five-floor tower will add 96 beds — bringing the total to 339 — and will add between 180 and 200 new jobs and $22 million in annual payroll, according to officials from Dignity Health, Chandler Regional’s parent company.
The expansion is scheduled for completion in fall of 2014.
The hospital will also become the first Trauma Level 1 hospital in the East Valley in April 2014.
Mayor Jay Tibshraeny told those gathered that leading-edge medical care is a characteristic of a strong community.
“Chandler is kind of the innovation and technology hub of the Southwest, both with what we’ve done on the Price Road Corridor, and in the rest of the community, so this kind of ties right into that,” Tibshraeny told the Tribune after the ceremony.
The $125 million project will upgrade the hospital’s surgical unit, add 32 intensive care rooms and six operating rooms, according to Dignity Health.
“We’re very keen on technology and innovation here and we’ve earned our reputation as a (technology) hub,” Tibshraeny said of the city, saying the hospital’s project coincides with the city’s technology mandate.
Tim Bricker, president and CEO of both Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert medical centers, said the mere space provided by the expansion will relieve a hospital that often doesn’t have enough of it.
“We are very, very busy,” Bricker said to the Tribune. “We are often full and we have needed to expand just to meet the needs of the population expansion in the Southeast Valley.”
Bricker added that the expansion is planned to have the ability to serve the needs of the area for at least the next decade.
Along with the project will come 275 additional parking spaces.
The ceremony concluded with a large steel beam on display, painted white so that attendees could sign it. The beam is to be incorporated into the structure of the new tower.
Tibshraeny said the hospital’s relationships with local higher-learning institutions, including and the technology industry make the expansion a perfect fit into the scheme of Chandler’s recent commercial development.
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