Hannibal Regional has begun work on a three-year, $61 million expansion project that will see the construction of a new, 88,000 square-foot medical office building and additions and renovations to other parts of the Hannibal-based health system.

Hannibal Regional has begun work on a three-year, $61 million expansion project that will see the construction of a new, 88,000 square-foot medical office building and additions and renovations to other parts of the Hannibal-based health system.

The project, expected to be complete in the year 2020, will add 137,000 square feet of new construction and will provide 50,000 square feet of renovated space.

The expansion will emphasize outpatient treatment options as healthcare has been trending towards reducing hospitalizations, according to Hannibal Regional President and CEO Todd Ahrens.

“A lot of what we're doing with the expansion is geared to that expectation that we'll continue to see an increase in care provided in the outpatient setting, but to do that, you have to have the space, and the people,” he said.

Ahrens said the project will generate additional jobs for physicians in the area, though he resisted providing an estimate to how many.

The hallmark of the expansion will be the construction of a four-story medical office building that will sit perpendicular to the current Hannibal Regional Medical Group building. The two buildings will be connected and share an entrance. Ahrens reported an anticipated completion date of February 2019 for that project.

Additionally, the entrance to Hannibal Regional Hospital will be reconstructed and modernized.

Further projects include a two-story expansion of the Intensive Care and Progressive Care Units as well as a renovation of the surgery department which will add six surgery suites.

The surgical suites are slated to be outfitted with the newest technology. Ahrens described the forthcoming surgery suites as “hybrid rooms.”

The expansion will not add capacity to inpatient services at Hannibal Regional Hospital, but all the patient rooms will be renovated over the course of the project.

Ahrens said staff at the hospital provided key input in the renovation of patient rooms.

In total, Hannibal Regional expects to invest $61 million in the project.

“We've gone to great lengths to make sure the money we're spending here will ensure we're where we need to be for the success of the healthcare system but also help ensure that the facilities we're generating in this project will meet the needs of the folks we take care of,” Ahrens said.

Patients will experience some level of disruption during the course of the projects, Ahrens said, but disruptions have been minimized throughout the process. Work on the new medical building is expected to begin in October with a ground breaking. Work on other projects will be done concurrent to the construction of the medical building.

Some construction has already begun, including the creation of more parking spaces that will offset spaces lost to new construction. Additional work in progress includes efforts to expand the receiving dock and support service areas.

“It's been an exciting project. I'm tickled to be a part of it. I'm excited the Board of Directors saw the vision to think about the importance of this project and we're now ready to get it done,” Ahrens said.

Hannibal Regional moved to its existing campus in western Hannibal in 1993. A major expansion to the Hannibal Regional Emergency Room wrapped up in August 2008. In May 2009, the Hannibal Regional Medical Group building opened.

Reach editor Eric Dundon at eric.dundon@courierpost.com