By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item
DANVILLE — A $52 million, 115,000-square-foot medical lab at Geisinger Medical Center will replace an outdated facility in one of the oldest buildings on campus.
Officials broke ground during a ceremony Thursday on the Geisinger campus.
The lab will be located north of the Hospital for Advanced Medicine and the campus’s parking garage. It will replace existing labs last renovated in 1984 and located in one of the oldest parts of the center, originally constructed in 1915.
“This building provides the necessary technology and additional space to advance laboratory medicine’s performance and build upon its intellectual potential,” said Dr. Conrad Schuerch, chairman of laboratory medicine for Geisinger Health System, at the ground-breaking ceremony. “It’s proximity to the main hospital — especially the intensive care units, emergency department and operating rooms — will assure that rapid turnaround times can be achieved for critical patients.”
The new Laboratory Medicine Building is scheduled to open in April of 2015, six months short of the 100-year anniversary of the opening of the original George F. Geisinger Memorial Hospital.
“When Geisinger opened in 1915, Dr. (Harold) Foss made sure it had a modern laboratory,” which was unusual for the time, said Schuerch. “Now it will be a century later that Geisinger is making a new laboratory statement,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to bringing this facility online,” said Frank Trembulak, the executive vice president chief operating officer of Geisinger Health System.
Dr. Glenn Steele, president and CEO of Geisinger Health System, said the expansion was possible thanks to Geisinger’s recent growth. Over the past 13 years, the health system has increased total system-wide revenue from $750 million a year to $3.6 billion a year and increased its number of employees from 9,000 to 20,000.
Construction on the Laboratory Medicine Building will begin in the next several weeks. There are no plans for the existing lab, said Geisinger spokesman Mike Ferlazzo, as there are still two years before employees leave the facility.