Ground broke Jan. 27 on West Feliciana Parish’s new $27.7 million hospital.

Dr. Jimmy Guidry, medical director of the Department of Health and Hospitals, was the guest speaker.

The 53,000-square-foot brick-and-glass hospital will utilize state-of-the-art equipment and technology, feature 12 inpatient rooms and a fully equipped emergency room with triage area, six exam rooms, two trauma rooms, separate check-in and waiting areas and expanded telemedicine with telestroke capabilities.

An imaging department will offer MRIs, CT scanning, digital radiology, ultrasound and echocardiogram equipment; a specialty suite designed for patient comfort will feature an endoscopy lab and area for gastrointestinal and other minor surgical procedures; and a laboratory designed for expansion and new equipment will offer faster processing for outpatient care.

Additional hospital amenities will include inpatient and outpatient admitting areas, an upgraded cafeteria, a nondenominational chapel, conference rooms and classrooms, a courtyard view from patient rooms and easy access to the main entrance and the ER.

The hospital will be the centerpiece of a 19-acre medical campus that will also feature doctors’ offices, specialty and primary care practices and central supply, purchasing and maintenance facilities.

Work already is underway on a road project made possible with operational funds that will connect the medical complex. The traffic artery will allow current operations at the existing hospital to continue while construction on the new hospital proceeds.

Site prep work has begun on the new hospital, which is estimated to open in spring 2017.

“This hospital is designed to meet the health care needs of our residents in a modern and efficient service-oriented environment,” Hospital CEO Lee Chastant said. “It’s also designed to expand the hospital’s current offerings of quality patient services that are closer to home for comfort and convenience and will have the capability of expansion.”

A $17.5 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, $8 million from INVESTAR Bank and $1.95 million in hospital reserves will fund construction of the new hospital, along with funding from the Bank of St. Francisville and The Highlands Bank.

“We applaud the parish in its efforts to provide better health care facilities. These improvements will help the community in providing quality services to the residents of West Feliciana Parish and surrounding areas,” said Clarence Hawkins, state director for USDA Rural Development.

The Curtis Group and Grace & Hebert are the architects on the project, Stuart and Co. the contractors, and Spinks Construction is overseeing the road project.

For a three-dimensional virtual tour of the new hospital’s interior, go to wfph.org, select News & Events, then New Hospital Information.