Hospital progresses toward spring opening

Rock Regional Hospital will have an all-hours emergency room along with in-patient services. Officials have begun the hiring process to staff the hospital, which is at 3251 N. Rock Road.

If all goes as planned, Derby’s first hospital should be open by the end of the first quarter of 2019.

That’s the update assessment from Mike Belew, executive vice president of development for CarrBaierCrandall Real Estate Group.

Ground was broken on the faculty in early September 2017 and the project has moved along well, he said.

“We’re been very fortunate with the weather,” he said.

The $40 million, 89,466-square-foot facility, called Rock Regional Hospital, is being built west of Rock Road and north of Patriot Avenue. It will employ between 75 to 90 people and have a connected medical office building north of it.

An open house is planned before patients are admitted, likely sometime in late January and early February, he said, in order to provide the community with a chance to see what it looks like on the inside.

Currently, there is no precise opening date, but the structure be done by the end of the year and equipment will start being moved in after the first of the year.

While the building may look fairly completed to the causal observer, there’s still more work to go, including landscaping, signage and other significant items, he said.

There’s also a lot of behind-the-scenes work to be done, including hiring employees.

“We’ve been hiring certain positions already and we will continue to hire,” he said.

Once all the equipment is in place, training will get underway, he said.

Belew said he and his staff are excited about the project.

“We’ve got a lot of positive feedback,” he said

He credits much of that to what he said is putting a resource into an area where it’s needed. People like to see that a hospital will be present here instead of having to go to Wichita, he said.

‘A full-fledged community hospital’

That’s especially true for those living between Wichita and Wellington and Arkansas City, where the next closest hospitals are.

“We felt there was a sizable gap for the population of the area,” he said “This is a more convenient arrangement for these people.”

The population growth south of Wichita has been dynamic during the past 20 years, he said, not just in Derby, but Rose Hill, Mulvane, Douglass and other communities.

The hospital is in the STAR bond district, a special taxing area, but doesn’t benefit from that status.

That wasn’t the pull to locate there, but rather it was the site, he said.

That location provided a real dynamic north-south and east-west connection with 63rd Street South and Rock Road, along with K-15 to the west, he said.

Rock Regional will have a 24/7 emergency room along with in-patient services. There is another ER nearby, which is owned and operated by Wesley Hospital, but it doesn’t have in-patient rooms. In any case, Belew said there’s more than enough demand for both ERs.

Rock Regional also will have full surgery facilities and an ICU.

“It’s a full-fledged community hospital,” he said.

He said it can undertake about 95 percent of health care cases.

However, it won’t have the highest level of medical treatment, known in the business as Level 1. That level has a regional approach and offers everything from open heart surgery to helicopter pads for airlift operations.

While Rock Regional will have trauma services, the most critical cases will go on to Wichita, either at Wesley or Via Christi.

The facility will have a total of 31 beds, with 24 overnight stay beds and seven in ICU.

CarrBaierCrandall has been undertaking such hospital projects for the past 20 years across the United States and Belew believes his company’s experience will be beneficial with the Derby project.

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