Lancaster County’s largest health care provider announced this morning that it is planning a six-story, $60 million expansion of its flagship facility, Lancaster General Hospital.

The expansion would enable the hospital to provide all private patient rooms, Lancaster General health said in a news release.

The LG Health Board of Trustees is scheduled to make a final decision on the project at its May meeting, according to the release. Work completed thus far is in anticipation of trustee and municipal approvals, it said, "to enable construction to begin as early as this summer."

"Among LGH’s current 533 inpatient beds, 142 are located in semi-private rooms," the release said. "LG Health plans to expand onto the northeast corner of the hospital, near Lime and Frederick streets."

The new patient tower, which would add six stories to the current two-story Stauffer building, would contain 60 new private inpatient rooms and space for an additional 80 rooms for future use as demand requires, LG Health said. As these rooms become available to patients, the current 71 semi-private rooms in other hospital buildings would be converted to private rooms or other facilities.

"Single-patient rooms have become the industry standard in new construction of acute-care facilities in the United States," LG Health said, adding that private rooms "reduce the possibilities for infection, facilitate nurses and healthcare workers’ ability to do their jobs efficiently, provide adequate spaces for family members to participate in the healing process of the patients, and afford a greater measure of privacy for the delivery of bedside treatments and for sensitive discussions with healthcare personnel."

LG Health said its plan requires a waiver of the existing zoning regulations, which require a "set-back" on any floors higher than six stories. If it's not waived, "the project would not provide the space needed for modern nursing units on the smaller, upper floors." 

CannonDesign, a Baltimore-based company, has provided the project's initial design work, according to LG Health spokesman John Lines. Other contractors have not yet been selected, he said.

Lines estimated that including the municipal approval process, the project would take about two years to complete.

If the waiver request is not granted, he said, "we’ll have to make a determination as to our alternative plans." The zoning hearing is scheduled for May 18. 

The hospital has invited neighbors to a meeting to discuss the proposal this Thursday, May 7, at 7 p.m.

Heather Stauffer covers the health care industry. She can be reached at hstauffer@lnpnews.com or 717-481-6022.