ARH plans $2.2M Addition

Published 11:28 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Andalusia Regional Hospital Wednesday broke ground on a $2.2 million addition to its surgical area.

ARH CEO Mark Dooley said the addition is much needed, as the hospital’s current surgical areas are being used at maximum capacity.

Dooley said operating rooms should average 1,000 procedures per year.

“We have three operating rooms, one of which is very small,” he said. “It’s difficult to do cases requiring a lot of equipment in that room.”

With the current operating rooms and an additional room used for scopes, Dooley said, the hospital is averaging 4,400 surgical cases per year.

“We are definitely at capacity,” Dooley said. “We have 11 different physicians doing surgery now.”

Currently, ARH’s largest operating room is 450 square feet. The new operating rooms will be 600 square feet each. When the addition is complete, the smallest operating room will be closed giving the hospital a net gain of one operating room.

“But we’ll have space that allows for lots more flexibility in our scheduling,” he said.

Robins and Morton of Birmingham will be the general contractor for the project.

Both Dooley and ARH board chairman Joe Bratton expressed appreciation to Lifepoint, ARH’s parent company, for the new commitment in capital outlay to the local facility.

“This is another strong commitment from Lifepoint,” Bratton said. “The addition is very much needed.”

Dooley said a third general surgeon will join Dr. Tim Day and Dr. Ashton Wells in local practice in 2010 when Andalusia native Tara Harden is scheduled to return to Andalusia. Harden currently is completing her surgical residency, he said.

Long term, the hospital’s addition likely will mean the addition of three employees to the ARH staff.