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Central Texas Medical Center officials on Friday announced plans for a $35 million, 64,000 square foot addition to accommodate expanded surgery and obstetrics units.

The expansion will create 50 new jobs, official said, as it increases the hospital’s licensed beds from 113 to 121 with additional capacity of up to 157 in the future.

The expansion shows that the medical center will “expand to meet the needs of our growing community,” said Gary Jepson, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer.

Pre- and neo-natal care patient rooms and other facilities will occupy much of the first floor of new building behind the existing professional office building on the east side of the Wonder World Drive campus. The Childbirth Center will include a 22-bed obstetric unit, seven labor, delivery and recovery units; a nursery; a Level II Neonatal Critical Care Unit; and a room specifically equipped for performing Cesarean sections. Other improvements include a six operating room surgery suite.

The bulk of the second floor will be occupied by 36 private patient rooms outfitted with current cardiac monitoring equipment.

The project will be financed with tax-free bonds through the hospital’s parent organization, the non-profit Adventist Health System, Jepson said. In the works for years, he said the announcement is not a reaction to Seton Family of Hospital’s $438 million hospital and mixed-use development in Kyle.

“The expansion is a response to our need for more space and our commitment to serving the community. I feel confident that there is room for two hospitals between San Marcos and Kyle,” Jepson said.

Jepson said he expects to break ground in six months with an early 2010 opening.

“I look forward to coming back with a pair of scissors instead of a shovel,” said Pete Webber, the Adventist System’s Southwest Region president and chief executive officer.

COVER PHOTO AND ABOVE: A computer rendering of the 64,000 square foot expansion’s location on Central Texas Medical Center’s Wonder World Drive campus. PARSONS GRAPHIC via CENTRAL TEXAS MEDICAL CENTER.

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