HAZLE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The temperatures may have been sitting in the 40s, with cloud cover adding an extra bite to the October air, but that didn't affect the excitement at Lehigh Valley Hospital Hazleton.
A groundbreaking ceremony marked the beginning of the second phase of a multimillion-dollar modernization project to expand the LHV Hazleton emergency room.
"People tend to not want to go to the hospital unless they have to and that often winds up being an emergency department visit, so having a comfortable, easily accessible environment for people to come in is really helpful," Lehigh Valley Health Network president and CEO Brian Nester.
The Lehigh Valley Health Network also citing population growth in the Hazleton area as a reason for nearly doubling the size of the current emergency room.
"People were complaining that they had to wait too long. Even though our wait times were in line with what the national averages are, that's not good enough for us. We want to make sure that we're giving the best possible care to our community, and that's why we're doing this expansion," said board chair Tom Kennedy.
Other parts of the project include additional treatment bays and behavioral health rooms.
"We believe our community deserves the quality care that we provide and we're going to continue to grow and expand and change as the health care climate changes," said LHV Hazleton president John Fletcher.
The main lobby of the emergency room will also be expanded. More jobs will be added at the hospital. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019.