Baton Rouge General Medical Center plans to invest $40 million to build a five-story medical office building and add four large operating rooms at the Bluebonnet campus.

In June, the state Bond Commission approved $30 million in low-interest, GO Zone bond financing for the 105,000-square-foot office building. The building will be connected to the campus by a skywalk over Picardy Avenue.

Chief Operating Officer Edgardo Tenreiro said the General’s physicians pushed for the new operating rooms, which were needed to meet the needs of patients.

“With all the changes in our health-care environment and the demographics, additional capacity at the Bluebonnet campus was going to be very important in the next three to four years,” Tenreiro said.

The General expects to complete the $10 million operating room expansion within the year, Tenreiro said. The medical office building is expected to be completed in 2013.

The operating rooms will incorporate two important technologies: minimally invasive robotics devices and “a hybrid operating suite” that will allow cardiologists and heart surgeons to work side-by-side in a way that was not possible before.

In the past, operating rooms and cath labs were separate, even on opposite ends of the hospital, Tenreiro said. Cardiologists and surgeons will be able to work side-by-side, rather than having the patient undergo one procedure before being moved to another location for a second procedure.

“So the merging of these two teams is critical,” Tenreiro said.

The hybrid suite will have room to fit both an open-heart surgical team and the personnel for catheterization procedures, or 10 to 12 people in addition to the patient, Tenreiro said.

A large operating room for an open-heart surgery is 800 square feet to 900 square feet, he said. The General’s four new operating rooms will cover 6,800 square feet.

Tenreiro said the robotic-assisted surgery offers a number of advantages, including much smaller incisions, which mean less blood loss and faster patient recovery times; a magnified field of vision for the surgeon; and the devices filters out all of the tremor inherent in an operation.