St. Luke’s Allentown Campus President Bill Moyer speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony.
The ceremonial scoop-and-scatter of shovelfuls of soil by officials at St. Luke’s Allentown Campus marked the start of construction of the new Women & Babies Pavilion, which will increase the community’s access to high-quality birthing, post-partum and newborn services, including neonatal intensive care.
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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 says the expanded services, double the size of the current units, will be able to accommodate as many as 3,000 patients per year. The project will cost approximately $50 million and is scheduled for completion in early 2024.
Upon completion of this 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,” says Barreto, of Allentown. “They prepped me with everything I needed to know to take Seven home. We formed a bond and became like friends.”
The third floor’s Labor & Delivery Unit and fourth floor Post-partum Unit will include additional rooms and amenities, making each floor almost double the size of the current unit.
“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.”
St. Luke’s Allentown has been voted the Morning Call Readers’ Choice as the Best Place to Have a Baby. St. Luke’s patients get to know their physician through their prenatal care and that physician will then deliver their baby. The state-of-the-art birthing units there offer parents the comforts of a safe, family-centered atmosphere to welcome their new babies into the world. St. Luke’s is a leader in perinatal care, high-risk deliveries and breastfeeding education. Its Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) provide advanced care to critically ill newborns and premature babies.
The building’s ground, first and fifth floors will be enclosed, or shelled in, for future use. Preparation of the construction site and renovations to existing hospital “tie in” points began in August (2022) soon after the opening of the enlarged and modernized emergency room, whose patient entrance was relocated for walk-in convenience. Excavation work for the new tower starts last week. The structure’s first steel beams will be erected next month (December), and the outer shell will be completed by the spring.