Chesterton Tribune

Moving Day: Porter relocates to new hospital tomorrow

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It’s been more than two years since the first bits of dirt on the 104-acre site were shoveled but Porter Health Care System is now just hours away from opening the doors to its brand new 430,000 square-foot regional hospital on the northwest corner of U.S. 6 and Ind. 49.

The festivities begin tonight at 7 p.m., when Porter CEO Jonathan Nalli will deliver a farewell toast on the steps of the Valparaiso Hospital Campus, located at 814 LaPorte Avenue. Marketing Director for Porter Health Care Karen Keltner said up to 1,000 associates, medical staff, volunteers and other guests are expected for the event to say good-bye to the campus which has served the area for more than 73 years.

Then bright and early Saturday morning, at 6 a.m., after it drops the cloth on its monument sign and raises the flags, Porter will begin its six to eight hour patient move between the two facilities.

How will it happen?

A large fleet of ambulances will transport an estimated 140 patients from the Valparaiso Campus to 85 East U.S. Highway 6, a distance of eight miles.

According to hospital officials, 35 ambulances with life-saving equipment and one Neonatal Intensive Care bus will be involved in transporting patients. Porter Health Care will be using additional ambulances from surrounding areas to ensure ambulance service in Porter County will not be compromised, Keltner said.

Primary patient transport will use Ind. 49 from both U.S. 30 and LaPorte Ave. in Valparaiso. Ambulances will make their way north up 49 to U.S. 6.

On a separate route, the hospital will be using six “hot trucks” to transport its patient care equipment – such as medication dispensing units, crash carts, surgical equipment, and ventilators – to the new hospital.

The trucks will travel from the Valparaiso campus west down Lincolnway and come up north on Campbell Street which becomes Meridian Road at about CR 600 N. The trucks will then go east on U.S. 6.

Keltner said workers from the Indiana Department of Transportation will help the hospital trucks keep moving to avoid congestion at traffic lights. INDOT will also place digital signs along the route to help keep traffic moving.

Road closings in Valpo

The City of Valparaiso will restrict traffic surrounding Porter’s campus on LaPorte Ave. to prevent any congestion to slow the move.

Roads to be closed during the transition are:

-- Garfield St. from Lincolnway south to Union St.

-- LaPorte Ave. from Garfield St. east to Roosevelt St.

-- Brown Street from Greenwich St. east to University Park Dr.

-- Greenwich St. from Brown St. north to Lincolnway.

-- Monroe St. from Greenwich east to University Park Dr.

-- Indiana Ave. from Greenwich East to Garfield.

-- Monroe St. from University Park to Garfield will be restricted on the north side to “no parking.” No parking will also be requested for Greenwich St. from Brown St. to Lincolnway on the west side.

Roads open in Liberty

Keltner said there will be no roads closed around the entrance of the new hospital in Liberty Twp. but there will be road workers helping to control traffic.

There will be a traffic incident bus stationed at the Living Waters Church across from the hospital.

“We would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during this historic, once-in-a-lifetime event as Porter moves a hospital,” hospital officials stated in a press release.

Those who have collaborated with Porter in the move, which has required massive amounts of preparation, are Indiana State and local police departments, Emergency Management Association and government officials.

Valpo Campus to close

After 6 a.m. Saturday, the Valparaiso campus will stop accepting patients and anyone with an emergency is asked to go to the fully-operational Porter Regional Hospital for treatment.

Once the patients and equipment have been transported successfully, the Valpo facility will close for good. The building and its 13 acres of surrounding property was purchased by Valparaiso University last September for an amount that has not been disclosed.

The hospital campus building will ultimately be demolished. University officials said they will use the space to expand their services.

A Hospital Built for You

Porter Regional Hospital is over twice the size of the older facility and has five floors of all private patient rooms. Each aspect is designed to enhance the patient experience, with spacious waiting rooms, natural lighting and valet parking.

Access points from the 25-foot tall lobby lead into the Emergency Department and the Cardiovascular Center (or as Nalli refers to it, “a hospital within a hospital). The ED is three times the size of the former with 24 patient exam rooms, three trauma rooms and two triage rooms.

Operating rooms, an intensive care unit, and pre-operative and post-operative areas make up the second floor; a center for orthopedic care and hematology/oncology unit are on the third; a women and children’s pavilion and nursing units are housed on the fourth floor; the fifth and top floor includes more medical and surgical units.

The hospital has a total of 12 new operating rooms, two will operate with robotical surgical platforms, and 25 recovery rooms.

The $210 million facility has been called an economic driver and has brought a total of 126 new jobs to Porter County, the hospital reports.

Opening later this fall will be the adjacent 60,000 square-foot medical plaza containing three stories of medical offices, a Center for Women’s Health and a Cancer Care Center.



Posted 8/24/2012