Lancaster General Hospital ER expansion

An undated rendering by architecture firm Perkins & Will shows a proposed addition to Lancaster General Hospital on North Duke Street, identified by shading in the outline at lower right.

Lancaster General Hospital’s upcoming construction project is being driven by an urgent need for more emergency room space.

But the addition’s new dining area should be quite something, too.

A preliminary rendering unveiled this week of the roughly $115 million project shows a “servery” with floor-to-ceiling windows and a terrace overlooking North Duke Street.

Ideas for the interior include multiple stations with handcrafted food choices, relaxation areas and a teaching kitchen for cooking demonstrations, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health spokesman John Lines said.

Open to the general public, the dining area would be accessible off the hospital’s main entrance lobby on East James Street and would extend along North Duke Street above the emergency room expansion.

“Hospitals nationwide are upgrading their dining offerings,” Lines said, “to emphasize healthful eating and wellness, as well as to promote a sense of community. ... We hope to create a comforting environment that would serve as the hospital’s communal hub for patients, visitors and employees.”

Two floors down, below the emergency room, would be the hospital’s expanded restaurant-style production kitchen.

The existing kitchen and dining area are at ground level. They need to be relocated to make way for the emergency room expansion.

The kitchen prepares about 3,500 meals each day for patients, staff and visitors, Lines said. It was last renovated more than 30 years ago.

Food and dining service will continue throughout construction, he said.

LG Health presented the addition to the city Historical Commission for a preliminary discussion prior to a formal application.

Commission members were complimentary, with one, Stephen Funk, praising the design’s “quiet sophistication.”

The planned expansion — approved by the board in May — will give LGH nearly 100 ER beds, enough capacity to treat 135,000 to 145,000 emergency patients a year.

The existing emergency department was designed for about 90,000 patients a year; it’s on pace to see more than 115,000 this year.

The expansion design must go through a lengthy approval process. Hospital officials have said construction could start as early as the winter and take up to three years.