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
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
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
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
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
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
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.