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The ceremonial scoop-and-scatter of shovelfuls of soil by officials at St. Luke’s Allentown Campus earlier this week marked the start of construction of the hospital’s new Women & Babies Pavilion, which will increase the community’s access to high-quality birthing, post-partum and newborn services, including neonatal intensive care.
The five-story, 85,000 square-foot tower is being built on the east side of the current hospital to meet the growing patient needs for these services at this hospital campus.
“We couldn’t have planned, invested in and begun this important project without having overwhelming support of our community, many who live nearby and tell us they value the personal, state-of-the-art care they receive here,” said St. Luke’s Allentown Campus President Bill Moyer. “We are honored to earn their trust each time they come here to receive the services they expect and deserve and that our skilled staff are pleased to provide.”
Moyer said the expansion will double the size of its current units, allowing the hospital to accommodate as many as 3,000 maternity and newborn patients per year. The project will cost approximately $50 million and is scheduled for completion in early 2024.
Upon completion of the Women & Babies Pavilion, three floors will be occupied immediately. The second floor will house the level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where babies born prematurely, before 32 weeks, will be cared for versus being transferred to a more advanced NICU. LifeAire air purification technology on this unit will create an ultra-sterile, negative air flow environment to protect the tiny and often ill newborns, their parents and caregivers from infections.
Seven-month-old Seven Joyner spent a month in the current NICU at St. Luke’s Allentown Campus after being born premature in April of this year. His mother, Margarita Barreto, called the care given by the doctors and nurses there, “phenomenal.”
“They took care of everything and were very organized and helpful,” said Barreto, of Allentown. “They prepped me with everything I needed to know to take Seven home. We formed a bond and became like friends.”
“With this expansion, patients will have access to a brand-new facility, new services and an increased level of care that allows babies to remain in their own community with their families,” said Elizabeth Dierking, MD, vice chair, St. Luke’s Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and OB/GYN residency program director. “Delivering safe access to care and the best care starts families on a happier and healthier journey.”
The new structure’s first steel beams will be erected next month, and the building’s outer shell is expected to be completed by the spring.
Note: This local health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.