The growth of the Greenville area had Bon Secours St. Francis Downtown eyeing a larger emergency department even before the COVID-19 crisis hit.
Should another wave of the pandemic hit, they’ll be ready, with a new emergency department that’s five times the size of the old one, with 45,000 square feet, more beds and a layout that’s more friendly for staff. The hospital unveiled the new space at an event on Nov. 17. Father Jonathan Duncan, director of spiritual care with the hospital, blessed the emergency room with holy water during the ceremony.
Officials broke ground in February 2020, with McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture in charge of the project. Most of the equipment, aside from many of the beds, is in place, and the first patient will arrive 7 a.m. Nov. 30, said Greta Gue, administrative director of critical care and emergency services for Bon Secours.
Gue said they’re hoping to cut wait times significantly, with capacity jumping from 18 beds to 42. Dr. Dawn Zellner will be the lead physician and director of emergency service. She said the department will provide the most efficient emergency care possible. “I’m incredibly grateful to be part of this project,” she said.
Lt. Gov. Pamela S. Evette addressed the crowd at the event, saying she was appreciative the hospital addressed not only the physical needs of patients, but the spiritual needs.
“I’m very passionate about the care that’s given to the citizens of South Carolina,” she said.
Matt Caldwell, president of the Greenville location, said he wished he would have started two years ago. He said they had been needing to increase ER capacity for a long time.
“Greenville is growing so fast,” he said. “We’ll be better prepared to room patients coming from triage.”
Emergency department facts
- Number of rooms: 42
- Square footage: 45,000
- Approximate cost: $41 million
- Annual visitors (projected): 75,000