Gilbert’s changing landscape - East Valley Tribune: Business

Gilbert’s changing landscape

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Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2004 7:03 am | Updated: 5:51 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

The Gilbert skyline is changing as metal beams outline the shape of Mercy Gilbert Medical Center in an ongoing $145million construction project.

Crews arrived at the site, on the eastern side of Val Vista Drive south of Williams Field Road, in March and have made significant progress in creating Gilbert’s first hospital, said Dave McDermed, senior project superintendent for Kitchell construction.

"Four months ago, this was an alfalfa field. Now, we’ve got four stories of steel. We’re starting to get ready to enclose the building. That’s where we’re headed," McDermed said.

The 120-bed acute care hospital is being built by Kitchell under the auspices of Catholic Healthcare West, a nonprofit health care provider, that will own and operate the hospital. The organization is the West’s largest nonprofit provider and has 42 hospitals in three states, including Chandler Regional Hospital, the Barrow Neurological Institute and St. Joseph’s Hospital in the Valley.

Expected to open in March 2006, the facility will offer 33 emergency room beds, a family birthing unit, operating rooms, a full imaging department including MRI and mammography, and a 12-bed intensive care unit, among other services.

"We anticipate the opening of the hospital will coincide with the opening of the highway," said Paul Szablowski, Catholic Healthcare’s spokesman, referring to the Santan Freeway being built in the East Valley, which will sit just north of the hospital.

Szablowski said the hospital has a Mediterranean, mission-style design that will feature plenty of windows and open areas to give patients and visitors a comfortable, relaxed feeling.

"When you walk onto one of these floors, it will be unlike any hospital you’ve seen. You will not get that stark, sterile kind of feeling," Szablowski said. About 150 construction workers are now at the site, detailing the steel, pouring concrete and excavating and preparing the structure for plumbing, electrical and telecommunication systems, McDermed said.

While the hospital and its parking lot will initially encompass about 60 acres, the site also includes an additional 40 acres for a medical park.

Crews should soon break ground on a three-story, 60,000-square-foot medical office building, McDermed said. As construction takes off, McDermed said it’s likely that more than 400 construction workers will ultimately be at the site. Szablowski said that’s just the beginning of the economic impact of the hospital, which will soon employ hundreds of people in positions ranging from nurses to administrative office staff.

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