CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Area Medical Center will scrap its original plans to build one additional floor onto the building that houses the emergency room at CAMC Memorial, opting instead to add three more floors to the top of the Bradford Pavilion surgery building at the hospital, the board of trustees decided Wednesday.The board had approved the original plan at its May meeting. Since that time, however, architects have determined that the ambulatory building that houses the emergency room would not support another floor."The architects thought you would be able to build on top of the ambulatory care building, but when they looked at the seismic regulations and what was required to secure the building, they said they couldn't build on top of it," Dale Wood, the hospital's vice president for system improvement and chief quality officer, told the board Wednesday.The original project, which would have made room for 42 additional beds, was to cost about $20 million.
The new plan for three additional floors will cost about $31 million.The hospital plans to use one floor for an additional 48 beds and another for storage. The hospital would build only the shell of the third floor, which could be completed when additional beds are needed, Wood said.
"We'll have the shell in place so that when we need to, we can put in the next 48 beds so that we don't come back and have to interrupt the traffic flow and parking," Wood said. "Also, now is a good time to borrow money."Board members have yet to decide whether the hospital will use money it has in the bank or if it will borrow the money to fill in the $11 million change in plans, CAMC Chief Executive Officer Dave Ramsey said.The hospital has yet to submit its request for a certificate of need from the West Virginia Health Care Authority for the project and will need the authority's permission before proceeding.Hospital officials hope to open the additional beds to patients by the first three months of 2015.In other business, the board also agreed to move forward with plans for its new cancer center at the former site of Watt Powell Park in Kanawha City. The cancer center will cost $36.6 million, officials said. The hospital has raised about $11.6 million and has a goal to raise $14.5 million for the project.Reach Lori Kersey at email@example.com or 304-348-1240.