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BUTLER, PA-Butler Health System has finalized plans for a $150-million expansion plan that will take place over the next two to three years. At its heart is construction of a new seven-story acute care tower on the existing Butler Memorial Hospital campus at 911 E. Brady St.

An existing building will be razed to make way for the tower. John Righetti, VP of strategic relationships for BHS, tells GlobeSt.com, the existing building has been gutted; demolition is slated for this March, and construction will begin this April or May. He says $127 million of the budget is slated for this building and it is expected to reach completion by the end of 2009 or early 2010.

Another component of the expansion is BHS’s acquisition of the Morgan Building, located about a mile from the main campus. It is being converted into an outpatient delivery site with diagnostic testing and physicians’ offices. Righetti says the acquisition and conversion cost is approximately $8 million. The first floor has already been converted into an obstetrics and gynecology office, and some physician offices, he says, “and we will relocate some cardiovascular functions there from the main campus.”

Additional expansion will take place at the Benbrook Medical Center, which BHS opened nearly two years ago. In joint venture between the hospital and physicians, it provides outpatient surgery and will include a pain center and a wound center. Other parts of the budget, which Righetti says is still in some flux, will be devoted to information technology development that will link all outpatient and inpatient facilities and physicians through a single network.

The state is providing $13.4 million for the expansion. It is offered in the form of an annual grant of $670,000 each year for 20 years as debt service to the Butler County Industrial Development Authority on behalf of BHS.

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