BOISE -- It was a big day Tuesday for the state's only trauma center. St. Alphonsus is expanding its emergency department and trauma center to better fill the needs of patients.
Construction started in some areas a few weeks ago. What happened Tuesday was more ceremonial than anything. The plan is to make the ER bigger and better than it already is.
With the breaking of an exterior ER window, the renovation for St. Alphonsus' Emergency Department and Trauma Center officially got underway.
"This is so exciting,” said Rodney Reider, President of St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. “This is so much better for the patients, for the community, and the care givers too. They have a better environment to work in. They'll be excited to be able to focus on the patient.”
Since the hospital was built in the 1970s, the people it serves tripled in size.
"And that tripling in size means we need to accommodate that to take better care of our community," said Reider.
The hospital is adding 5,000 square feet. Most of that is going to be private patient rooms, an improvement from the current situation where some rooms are private and others are partitioned with curtains.
"The big thing we're excited about, as physicians, is the ability to take care of patients in private rooms, which will be a huge advantage for patient care," said Dr. Eric Elliot, Associate Medical Director for St. Alphonsus.
The hospital built two mock-up patient rooms for nurses and doctors to see and make comments to improve what they have. Crews got a lot of feedback on improving those rooms. By the time construction is done, St. Alphonsus will add 32 more private hospital rooms.
"All the decisions we try to make in terms of taking better care of the community, we put the patient in the center, we build around them," said Reider.
And speaking of building, construction is already underway in some areas. Workers have the framing for some of the patient rooms already done. Each one will be standardized so doctors won't need to take patients to certain rooms, depending on the treatment.
"We are really a community asset, and the key here is to take better care of the community," said Reider.
The ER will remain open during construction. They're working in phases to make it so people can still get the care they need.
Here's a little behind-the-scenes video showing how the ceremony didn’t quite go as planned.