SMH Breaks Ground on Hospital Expansion
Published 4:37 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2022
(Nov. 22, 2022 – Slidell, La.) – Patients in Slidell and surrounding areas will soon benefit from new facilities and services coming to Slidell Memorial Hospital. The hospital broke ground on its Surgical Services and Patient Care Tower, a 3-story building addition, during an afternoon ceremony celebrated by hospital staff, community members and dignitaries. The tower is scheduled to be complete in 2024.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Monday, November 14, at 3 p.m., in the gravel lot on Florida Avenue and 11th Street behind the main hospital campus. Speakers included SMH senior leaders, Board of Commissioners Chairman Joseph DiGiovanni Jr. and Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.
The $50 million project will expand the main campus of the hospital with the construction of a new building that will house a brand-new set of operating suites, an additional Intensive Care Unit and an additional inpatient care unit with private rooms that can be switched to negative pressure to aid in the treatment of airborne viruses. The project also includes demolition of existing structures and renovating the current operating rooms, built in the 1970s, to create a surgical experience that is completely private for patients, without the need to be wheeled along public corridors to and from surgery.
Chief Executive Officer Sandy Badinger noted the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the world’s dependence on healthcare, stating, “We promised last year when we proposed a new building that would offer advanced surgical options, new ICU beds and more negative pressure rooms, that we would do our part to always care for our community – no matter what crisis comes our way. As your community hospital, we cannot say thank you enough for supporting us in our efforts to keep care local.”
“This is truly the largest construction project for Slidell Memorial in the hospital’s history, which makes this groundbreaking especially exciting,” said SMH Chief Operating Officer Holly Sanchez, who is leading the project. “The three stories of the Surgical Services and Patient Care Tower will expand the hospital’s footprint by approximately 61,000 square-feet. Because of [the community’s] support, this project is able to come to fruition.”
Voters in Wards 6, 7, 8 and 9 overwhelmingly approved a $23 million bond renewal to help finance construction of this expansion on the hospital’s main campus, as well as fund a comprehensive breast cancer program. Slidell Memorial received an A+ bond rating from Standard and Poor’s for its General Obligation Bonds. Over the past several years, SMH has continuously refinanced previously issued bonds to allow interest savings to be passed to the taxpayers in the form of a faster payoff of the bonds. In March 2021, the SMH Board of Commissioners approved a bond refunding that saved taxpayers more than $3 million.
SMH Board Chairman DiGiovanni explained the funding through the tax millage partially funds the construction of these facilities, allowing Slidell Memorial to expand services available to patients, bring new technology and programs, perform innovative surgeries and deliver care in new ways. This new facility will also provide a better working environment for team members, allow the hospital to recruit top talent, and ultimately, keep care local, he said.
“I can sincerely say that Slidell Memorial and our partner Ochsner hold our responsibility to our community at the forefront of every decision we make,” said DiGiovanni. “Our mission is to improve the quality of life in our community, and that includes planning for the future of healthcare in Slidell.”
Slidell Memorial received four bids for the project and selected DonahueFavret Contractors Inc. based upon the lowest bid received. The contractor team also includes Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects and Bill Firesheets Construction Consulting.