Zeeland Unveils 36M Hospital

    ZEELAND — Administrators hope to move Zeeland Community Hospital to a new $36 million facility by mid-2006 that will provide the space needed to accommodate growing patient volumes and add clinical services.

    The hospital plans to seek approval this summer from the Michigan Department of Community Health to build a new facility of at least 130,000 square feet on a 36-acre site at Old Chicago Drive and Washington Street, along the Zeeland city and Zeeland Township border.

    The hospital at the same time will commence a preliminary design phase for the new hospital, focusing on “what makes sense” for Zeeland Community to offer.

    The new hospital would replace an aging facility that first opened in 1956, has been renovated and expanded several times, offers no more room to grow, and comes with numerous operational inefficiencies.

    “In the nearly 50 years since we built our existing hospital, not only has the face of health care changed dramatically, but so has Ottawa County,” Zeeland Community Hospital President Henry Veenstra said Wednesday in announcing the plan.

    “The hospital is the instrument we use to serve our patients. Our instrument is wearing down,” Veenstra said. “We need a hospital that will allow us to continue to provide the latest in medical technologies, and enhance the quality of care and drive efficiencies throughout our system.”

    Two years worth of study and analysis concluded that the cost of building a new hospital “was no more expensive” than renovating or expanding the existing facility, a fix that would only take Zeeland Community 10 years into the future, Veenstra said.

    Zeeland Community will not seek a decrease or increase in its present license of 57 inpatient beds, Veenstra said. Financing for the project will come from $24 million in bonds, the sale of the existing 100,000-square-foot hospital on Pine Street and its eight acres, cash reserves, and a public capital campaign that will seek to raise an undetermined amount.

    Serving a rapidly growing core market of southern Ottawa County, Zeeland Community Hospital has experienced a 42 percent increase in outpatient visits, a 54 percent increase in outpatient surgeries, and a 41 percent increase in births since 1996.  

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