Plaza Medical Center to launch $64 million expansion next year

Rendering of Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth’s new three-story building.
Rendering of Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth’s new three-story building. Courtesy Perkins+Will of Dallas

Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth plans to start construction in the first quarter on another expansion, a $64 million project in the Medical District that will bring much-needed space for emergency and intensive-care services.

Demand for emergency services has increased so much that the hospital will nearly double the size of its emergency room at a cost of $34 million in a new building on the west side of its property.

The three-story building, to be built across Ninth Avenue on land now used as a parking lot, is expected to open in mid-2018, the hospital said.

Clay Franklin, Plaza Medical’s CEO, said the new emergency room will have easier and faster access for patients and ambulances, with seven dedicated bays.

The 104,000-square-foot building will be connected to the main hospital with an elevated crosswalk over the street and will have a helipad on the roof, the hospital’s second. The helipad will be dedicated to trauma patients. The current helipad will remain at Eighth Avenue and Humboldt Street, the hospital said.

In all, 130 full-time positions will be added once the new facility is completed, Franklin said. The hospital has more than 1,100 employees.

The first floor will serve as the emergency room with 30 beds, including trauma, pediatric and “fast track” rooms, designed to give faster care to less-complicated cases. The hospital last renovated its 18-bed emergency room just two years ago. Once the new emergency room opens, the current emergency room will be renovated for the hospital’s cardiology unit, Franklin said.

Moreover, the new emergency room will open as a level-three trauma center, he said.

The second and third floors of the new building will be constructed as part of a $30 million second phase, the hospital said. The third floor will not be finished out but left for future expansion, Franklin said.

“We’ll just keep building up,” Franklin said. “We needed new space. We’re often out of ICU space. We do receive a lot of patients from outlying hospitals.”

The second floor will house a 28-bed intensive-care unit, with 16 beds dedicated to neurology intensive care for stroke and neurosurgery patients. The hospital has a Comprehensive Stroke Center. Earlier this year, the hospital opened a $4.5 million, 18-bed acute inpatient rehabilitation unit, focusing on services for stroke and neurological patients.

Also, 12 beds will be dedicated for patients in the hospital’s new Comprehensive Liver Center. The hospital has applied to the United Network for Organ Sharing and expects to start a liver transplant program early next year. The hospital’s Transplant Institute already performs kidney transplants.

The new ICU beds will be in addition to Plaza Medical’s current 40 ICU beds.

In the past year, Plaza Medical has spent about $8.4 million in several areas of the hospital, including more than $3 million in new equipment, a $2.5 million interventional radiology lab that will be completed in March, and a $2.3 million cardiac electrophysiology lab that will also open in early 2017.

Plaza Medical Center is a 320-bed facility and is part of HCA North Texas. It has operated for more than 40 years.