Virtua plans on schedule

By ROBERT LINNEHAN | The Voorhees Sun

Virtua Health representatives reported last week that the new hospital is still on schedule for a March 2011 grand opening. The façade of the new multimillion dollar facility was recently enclosed, which will eliminate any future weather delays it may have had.

Mike Kotzen, vice president and chief operations officer of Virtua Health, said the project is about 15 months short of its grand opening.

“Completion is still scheduled for March of 2011. We’re 15 months short, but we’re already planning a move-in date for the second quarter of 2011,” he said. “All of the trade work is continuing. With the building closed now we’ve eliminated any possible weather delays we may have had.”

About 14 sample rooms have also been completed, Kotzen said, an interesting preliminary procedure needed before the rooms go into mass production. Hospital employees are being brought in to preview each of the rooms — such as a pediatric or maternity room — to see if they meet the standards set forth in the design process.

“We’re having our employees go through the rooms and verify that they meet the design intent,” Kotzen said.

The new $463 million state-of-the-art digital hospital will include women’s health services, maternity, pediatrics, oncology, cardiology, and surgery. A community meeting space, health and wellness retail shops, and a café are also planned for the new structure.

In early October a new initiative from Virtua Health honored one of its longest standing and revered doctors and introduced a $25 million institute at the new hospital to improve pediatric health in the region, state, and nation.

Richard P. Miller, Virtua Health president and CEO, introduced the new initiative as The John M. Tedeschi Pediatric Institute, in honor of longtime employee and Virtua pediatric doctor John M. Tedeschi.

According to Virtua representatives, the mission of the institute is to connect Virtua’s pediatric Centers of Clinical Excellence to a research arm that seeks out evidenced-based best practices in pediatric care that advances the health of children in this country.

Additionally, Virtua Health partnered with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb for a new neonatal intensive care unit at the new facility. The completed unit will be named The McNabb Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in honor of their dedication and commitment, representatives said.

The McNabbs made a six-figure donation to help with the construction of the new unit, a press release stated from Virtua Health. The McNabb’s have delivered all of their children at Virtua Voorhees.

Virtua Health representatives said the new hospital would be financed through a combination of tax-exempt bonds, existing investments, and donations.

The hospital is located along Rt. 73, bordered by Dutchtown Road on a 125-acre site.

The hospital will include 360 beds, 680,000 square feet of space, and many private rooms for its patients, Virtua representatives said.

It will also incorporate numerous “green” construction techniques, including rooftop gardens, a runoff water collections system for irrigation, and locally produced materials and colors inspired by the Pinelands.

The new hospital will have two pavilions for its patients.

One pavilion will cater specifically to women and children, while the other will serve adults and medical surgical cases.

The new facility is also projected to have 2,800 employees by the campus’ completion.

When the medical campus is fully completed, the total number of employees could jump up to 4,000.