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Lehigh Valley

Lehigh Valley Hospital plans addition for new arrivals

Four-story building will be built on Muhlenberg campus in Bethlehem

Lehigh Valley Health Network expanding Muhlenberg campus

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lehigh Valley Health Network plans to construct a $93.6-million building for babies at Lehigh Valley Hospital's Muhlenberg campus in Bethlehem.

The four-story structure, referred to as a pavilion in a news release, will include obstetrics and newborn services that will accommodate about 2,000 deliveries annually.

Those services will be the first in LVH–Muhlenberg's 54-year history.

Hospital officials say it will give Northampton County residents a place to have their babies closer to home.

The building also will include a Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation and vacant space to accommodate future growth.

Groundbreaking tentatively is planned for September and the pavilion should open by July 1, 2017.

The construction costs will be paid through a combination of capital funding from LVHN and philanthropic gifts from community members.

The project is expected to create about 225 new construction jobs and about 185 new patient care jobs at LVH–Muhlenberg.

"The number of births rises each year at LVH–Cedar Crest, and we now accommodate more than 4,000 births annually at that location," said Brian Nester, LVHN president and chief executive officer.

"In the last five years, the number of deliveries involving Northampton County mothers has increased by almost 25 percent. Currently, 16 percent of all births at LVH-Cedar Crest involve Northampton County mothers."

By expanding high-quality obstetrics care to LVH–Muhlenberg, LVHN is filling a need and giving people from Northampton County and the surrounding area an option to have their babies closer to home, said Nester.

Additionally, the network is expanding rehabilitation services in response to a need for inpatient-specific rehabilitation on the LVH-Muhlenberg campus.

The pavilion will rise on the south side of the campus, and will be connected to the main hospital through the existing South Tower lobby and the former hospital cafeteria.

The new structure will offer 161,000 square feet of space.

Floors two and three will be reserved for obstetrics and newborn services, which will include:

* A mother-baby unit with 20 private rooms

* A nursery with 16 bassinettes

* A Level II NICU with 10 private rooms

* Eight state-of-the-art labor, delivery and recovery rooms

* Two operating rooms

* Five obstetrics triage beds

* A three-bay post-anesthesia care unit area

* A four-bed antepartum unit

"This new pavilion will allow LVHN to create an ideal patient- and family-centered experience for moms-to-be and their families," said Mary Bianchi, vice president of LVHN's women's and children's service line.

"This will add to the women's health care services in maternal fetal medicine, cardiology, gynecologic oncology, urogynecology and Breast Health Services already available at LVH–Muhlenberg."

The building's first floor will be home of the Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation–Muhlenberg.

It will include 28 rehabilitation beds and is similar to the Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation–Cedar Crest currently under construction inside the Kasych Family Pavilion at LVH–Cedar Crest in Salisbury Township.

The fourth floor of the new building will be shelled and reserved for potential future growth.

The project also will include increased parking and improvements on Schoenersville Road between Macada Road and the Route 22 east on-ramp.

The project calls for the removal of the Banko Community Center, which is used for conference space, community events and for behavioral health programs.

The conference space for community events will be incorporated into renovations to the LVH–Muhlenberg south lobby that are a part of this project.

The behavioral health program will relocate to 2710 Schoenersville Road.

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