Lane Regional Medical Center in Zachary has received a $61 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to renovate a large portion of the hospital and add a new medical tower.

Lane will use the loan to "renovate 37,000 square feet of the hospital and add an 82,000-square-foot, four-story medical tower," according to a press release from the USDA. This addition will provide 48 acute patient care rooms, surgical and intensive care units, nurse’s stations and administrative areas.

The four-story tower will also house a new operating suite that is twice the size of the current suite and will relocate the patient registration to be closer to the front entrance for easier access. The goal is for the expanded facility to provide more specialized care options to serve the community, a hospital spokesperson said. 

In a bid to provide patient-centered care in an updated facility, Lane’s Board of Commissioners approved the hospital expansion project in February 2019, according to Julie McLin, director of marketing and physician recruitment at Lane. 

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The move is part of an effort by the USDA to invest $871 million to improve critical community facilities to benefit rural residents across the country. The agency is funding 256 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program to build or upgrade schools, libraries, clinics and public safety facilities. The projects must be in a rural area with a population of 20,000 or less. 

McLin said that the groundbreaking should begin in spring of 2022. The project is anticipated to last between three and four years. She added that hospital officials are "absolutely" excited about this development to improve their facility's mission. 

Lane is one of the local hospitals stretched thin during the coronavirus pandemic. In late September, The Advocate reported that the six ICU beds at Lane were filled, and some critical care patients were stationed in an overflow wing. 

According to the USDA release, the hospital employs more than 850 people. 

Email Jacqueline DeRobertis at