Porter hospital moves up move-in date

2012-01-13T21:00:00Z 2012-01-15T00:30:10Z Porter hospital moves up move-in dateBy Kathleen Quilligan kathleen.quilligan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5331 nwitimes.com

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP | Patients will be in the new Porter hospital three months earlier than anticipated, and the name over the door will be different.

Porter CEO Jonathan Nalli said Friday construction of the new building at the northwest corner of Ind. 49 and U.S. 6 will be completed ahead of schedule, putting a move-in date at Aug. 25, instead of around Thanksgiving, to transfer patient care activities.

"The benefit is totally to the patients," said Nalli. He said the new hospital was designed for efficiency and to shave minutes off treatment in areas such as transporting patients. "Patients will be 90 days quicker to that efficiency."

The 430,000-square-foot facility almost doubles the size of the current 250,000-square-foot campus in downtown Valparaiso.

Nalli also said after 18 months of study and focus groups, the hospital will operate under a new name, Porter Regional Hospital. The health care system will be called Porter Health Care System instead of Porter Health System. Nalli said the change reflects a regional focus. It will take effect in August.

When The Times was last at the construction site in August, the building was just a shell. Rooms were created only with wood framing, ceiling and floors were unfinished and wires were exposed.

Friday morning, while parts of the hospital still resembled the earlier shell, others were completely finished. For example, in one area, the smell of fresh paint still lingered from the hallway's paint job and new doors had been installed. The nurses' station was finished and decorative tile laid on the floors.

"We've had good subs, good tradesmen," said Sam O'Neal, assistant superintendent with Robins & Morton, the project's contractor. "It just happened."

Nalli said he will spend the next six months with Colleen Tymensky, a transition consultant, speaking to different community groups and clubs about the move to the new hospital, which is expected to take seven hours. For example, the hospital isn't moving the majority of its equipment because 78 percent of it will be new, Nalli said.

"This is an event that probably won't ever occur again in Porter County in our lifetime," Nalli said.

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