One of the largest construction projects in Davenport history will begin in June with the aim of positioning Genesis Health System as a leading U.S. medical provider as officials say it improves patient health outcomes and hospital experiences.

Today, health system officials will announce a $138.5 million construction project focused on the Genesis Medical Center-East Rusholme Street campus. Plans call for 203,000 square feet of new construction and 115,000 square feet of renovations at the Genesis hospital campus in east-central Davenport.

In a construction program spread over four years, the project means that all surgical services will be in a new seven-story tower on the East Rusholme Street campus. Twelve spacious operating rooms and 64 patient rooms will be in the structure to be built atop the current hospital’s cafeteria, kitchen and executive offices area.

The project is the largest ever for Genesis, which was formed almost 20 years ago by the merger between the former Mercy Hospital, located on West Central Park Avenue, and St. Luke’s, which is the property to be replaced, renovated and enlarged.

All short-term medical services will be provided on the East Rusholme campus, said Doug Cropper, the president and CEO of Genesis. The West Central Park campus will be home to longer-term care, such as cancer and rehabilitative services, the Sleep Center and behavioral health, which is expected to evolve within the care system.

“This takes services on two campuses, which have a fair amount of duplication, and puts whole teams of nurses, technicians, anesthetists and others on one campus in a brand-new space," Cropper said.

“Acute services will move from West to East, allowing growth on the West,” said Ken Croken, the vice president of corporate communications at Genesis.

Noting that Genesis runs the largest medical rehabilitation program in Iowa at the West Central Park campus, Croken said that area also will be expanded and improved. Other programs slated for growth are radiation oncology and behavioral health.

Genesis has the busiest trauma departments in Iowa, according to Wayne Diewald, the health system's chief operating officer and president of Genesis Medical Center, Davenport. The emergency departments handle 75,000 patient visits per year, he said.

Emergency medicine will remain on the West Central Park campus, but a new, larger department will be built on the East Rusholme site, expanding into what is now a kitchen and boardrooms.

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Both emergency departments are undersized at present, said Dr. Joseph Lohmuller, the chief medical officer at Genesis. That leads to overcrowding, he said, which can be confirmed by patients, who may endure long waits and be parked on a gurney in a hallway for an hour or more until a bed opens up in a room or cubicle.

The existing operating rooms at Genesis date to the 1960s, and Diewald said modern surgical practices often require as many as three physicians to consult on patient care. These doctors can barely fit in one of the current rooms, he said. Nor is there room for state-of-art machinery, such as the da Vinci robotic system used in some heart operations.

The seven-story tower also will include a new entrance and be fronted by a parking lot. There will be two floors for 64 patient beds, with a third floor left open for the time being to give officials flexibility of use.

The improvements also position Genesis to build a state-of-the-art facility for the 21st century that is very cost-efficient in the long run.

“We think this positions us the best for the future,” Cropper said.