Right now, at the Reston Hospital Center, it is not unusual to see patients sleeping in the hallways, or in the emergency department. But in two to three years every patient admitted to the hospital will have a private bed.
Last Thursday, hospital officials, along with Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, broke ground on a new construction project. When construction is done, there will be 60 new beds, pushing the total number to 187. There will also be a new Women’s Center and a 1,000 space parking garage.
"The hospital today, as most days, is above capacity," said hospital president Bill Adams, at last Thursday‘s groundbreaking. "There are boarders in the emergency room, like almost every day. I’d like to say that scenario is going to change very quickly, but I can’t."
<bt>At the groundbreaking, Adams looked forward 20 months to when the construction would be finished. At that time, with the additional beds, every patient will have a private room. In addition to the new Women’s Center and Parking Garage, the hospital will expand its emergency department, radiology department and dietary and medical records area.
"I see a warm, sunny October day," said Adams. "Behind this fence I see a five-story Women’s Center. At about the same time, across the street, there is a five-story parking garage."
The project was conceived more than three years ago, when the hospital began the certificate of public need process to apply for state approval. Hospital officials initiated a letter-writing campaign, citing local population growth, hospital overcrowding and reroute statistics. Reroute occurs when the hospital is full and emergency vehicles must be diverted to other area hospitals. Adams said Hudgins was also supportive in helping the hospital through the county approval process.
"I was here before the hospital ever came and I would not like to still be here if that was still the case," Hudgins said.
<bt>As construction progresses, some of the parking lots will be compromised. A block of Town Center Drive, near the site of the future Women’s Center, will also be narrowed from two lanes each direction to one lane each direction.
But McCauly Reed, the director of food services at the hospital, said he welcomes the construction and will be glad to have the extra space.
"We’re always hustling trying to feed all the patients in the ER, and all the patients lying in the hallway," said Reed.
The hospital recently opened a new endoscopy unit, as well. After the groundbreaking, hospital employees led visitors around the new unit. Endoscopy surgery involves either the stomach or the colon. A technician in one of the endoscopy rooms was playing a DVD of the cartoon movie "Shrek" to demonstrate the quality of the new endoscopy monitors.