Parkview adding 6-story building

May 21st, 2018

By Sherry Slater | The Journal Gazette

The sprawling Parkview Regional Medical Center is getting even bigger, driven by patient demand.

Parkview Health officials announced plans Monday to construct a six-story expansion onto the north-side hospital. A preliminary timeline calls for groundbreaking before Dec. 31 and opening to patients in spring 2021.

Weigand Construction, which has worked on numerous Parkview projects, will build the addition. The tower will be south of the existing hospital building and adjacent to the new Parkview Cancer Institute, which opens next month. 

Ben Miles, president of Parkview Regional Medical Center and affiliates, said it's too early to place a dollar figure on evolving plans for the addition. But he validated an industry guideline that estimates hospital projects cost about $1 million per patient bed.

The 168,000-square-foot medical tower will include 72 inpatient rooms on the top three floors. But that's just the beginning.

The lower three floors will be shell space, which can be customized for a future use – inpatient or outpatient – after officials determine the greatest need.

Miles said doubling the $72 million figure to account for the additional three floors wouldn't produce a sound estimate of the project's total cost, however.

Parkview officials are also hedging on the number of new jobs being created by the project. Miles declined to estimate whether the expansion will require dozens or hundreds of new workers.

Although there's a rule of thumb for cost, there's no similar guideline for the number of employees needed for each patient room, he said.

The positions that are created, Miles said, will focus heavily on patient care, including nurses, techs, transport, lab, pharmacy, housekeeping and dietary jobs.

Parkview spokeswoman Jessica Miller said anyone interested in working for the local nonprofit health care provider doesn't have to wait for the new tower to open. Parkview currently has hundreds of job openings, she said.

Parkview Health is Allen County's largest employer with a workforce of more than 4,700, according to Greater Fort Wayne Inc.'s online community profile.

Miles expects the six-story addition will allow Parkview to lower payroll costs per square foot because various administration positions won't have to be duplicated to manage the larger structure.

Adding onto Parkview Regional Medical Center will allow officials to examine whether existing services are in the optimal arrangement or if care could be improved by making some changes.

Mike Packnett, Parkview Health's president and CEO, said the investment is being made to keep up with patient demand that remains unsatisfied even after capacity was increased at both Parkview Regional Medical Center and Parkview Hospital Randallia.

Parkview Regional Medical Center, a $550 million investment, was designed to include room to grow. But by the time it opened in 2012, demand prompted officials to finish planned shell space. Officials said it was at capacity almost immediately.

Miles said Parkview is experiencing demand for its services across the board. He brushed off any suggestion that recent unrest among some Lutheran Health Network physicians, staff and administrators might have contributed to patients' decisions to choose Parkview.

“It's not what's not going well” at Lutheran, he said. “It's what we're doing right.”