Pink and white shovels planted firmly in the ground marked a monumental moment for Olathe Medical Center this week.
A ceremonial groundbreaking was held last week for the hospital’s new birthing center.
It is one of four major construction projects underway this year for the hospital, which is undergoing the largest expansion in its 62-year history.
In addition to the new birthing center, there will be a free-standing cancer center, a memory care neighborhood at Cedar Lake Village and an expanded cardiovascular center.
Never miss a local story.
The 105,000-square-foot four-story obstetrics wing will include a Level II neonatal intensive-care unit.
It will feature state-of-the-art technology, a new cafeteria and dining area, and outdoor gardens and water features.
The birthing center will have private, suite-like rooms with whirlpool tubs, queen-size beds and big-screen televisions.
The Level II NICU will feature private rooms large enough for parents to stay with their babies.
“Having more room is going to be amazing,” said Susan Nigro, obstetrical services director for Olathe Medical Center. “We need more space for our patients and equipment. It will help us work more efficiently.”
Nigro was on a team of Olathe Medical Center staff members and physicians who helped with the design process for the new wing.
She said the group visited hospitals all over the country to pick and choose what they liked best.
It helped pick out even some of the smallest details — like having USB outlets in each suite — to give patients a convenient experience.
“The atmosphere is going to be welcoming and relaxing and luxurious,” Nigro said. “It’s going to give an upscale experience.”
Site work has already begun for the project and construction on the new unit is expected to begin within a month.
The new birthing center should open its doors in early 2017, said Mike Jensen, vice president of marketing and development.
Many people at the hospital are excited for the new birthing center to open, he said.
“It is very important for us to raise the level of care for high risk moms and babies,” he said. “And it’s important to provide comfort to moms and make sure they have everything they need from their hospital.”
The rest of the projects will also begin this year, and together they will exceed 200,000 square feet, with a cost of more than $100 million in construction and equipment. The expansion will result in addition of 200 new jobs.