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Published: Wednesday, 8/29/2007

Wood County Hospital to double size

An artist's rendering shows the 100,000-square-foot addition that will face West Wooster St. An artist's rendering shows the 100,000-square-foot addition that will face West Wooster St.

BOWLING GREEN - Wood County Hospital officials yesterday announced plans for the largest expansion in its 56-year history: a $35 million, 100,000-square-foot addition in its own front yard.

The project will include 56 private-patient rooms, an operating area with six major surgery suites and four procedure rooms, an expanded emergency department, the addition of a chapel, and renovation of some support departments.

With construction scheduled to begin in the spring and be completed in 2009, the expansion will effectively double the size of the hospital on West Wooster Street. The addition will face West Wooster and connect to the front of the hospital, although the main entrance will remain where it is.

"We thoroughly researched our options on campus and have concluded that this plan allows us to best address the patient-care needs of our community,"

Stanley Korducki, the hospital's president, said in a statement. "We have welcomed employee input throughout the planning process, and we continue to do so."

Catharine Harned, director of marketing and business development, said expansion plans have been in the works for about two years.

She said Mr. Korducki met with neighbors yesterday morning to explain the project and answer questions. Some were concerned about the impact on the neighborhood.

"We are trying to maintain as much green space as possible," Ms. Harned said. "That was a very important thing to us because our grounds are so much a part of our community, but yes, there will be some trees coming down."

The project will be paid for through borrowing, hospital reserves, and philanthropy, Ms. Harned said, adding that the hospital's foundation is exploring the feasibility of a fund-raising campaign. "What's interesting is this hospital was created 56 years ago through the donations of community members," she said. "There hasn't been a fund-raising campaign since the early 1960s."

The hospital is licensed for 162 beds but operates with about 92.

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