St. James Hospital ready for expansion

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2011

By David Vitrano


LUTCHER – Three years after opening its doors, St. James Parish Hospital has grown so much it broke ground on two different expansion projects Friday.

The larger of the projects is the construction of a 15,000-square-foot medical office building that will house the Lutcher Family Clinic, the wound care clinic and nine independent specialty clinics, including cardiology, gastroenterology, nerve conduction, orthopedics, pain management, podiatry, psychiatry, surgery and urology.

According to Director of Marketing Cassie St. Pierre, those specialty clinics were previously housed in spare rooms in the existing building.

“We’ve outgrown that,” said St. Pierre.

The medical office building will also be home to a new community events room, which will hold twice the number of people the existing room does. Some of the hospital’s business offices will also be relocated to the new structure.

The second project will be a five-bed expansion to the hospital. It has been called an acuity adaptable unit, meaning the beds can be used in a number of different situations from routine patient procedures to intensive care.

“It just depends on the kinds of patients we have,” said St. Pierre.

She explained the expansion was capped at five beds because St. James is a critical access hospital, and that designation limits the number of beds such a hospital can have. After the expansion, St. James Parish Hospital will have 25 beds, the maximum number allowed for a critical access hospital.

According to LSU economist Dr. Jim Richardson, the construction phase of the project will generate about $7.4 million in business activity and will create about 81 jobs.

The projects will cost about $5 million and are expected to be completed in July 2012.