PHOTOS: New 'world-class' SLU Hospital officially opens Tuesday

Long anticipated project now complete in the heart of the city.

Fred Bodimer
September 01, 2020 - 8:53 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — The grand opening of the new SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital is set for Tuesday night in midtown at the corner of Grand and Chouteau. 

The new SLU hospital
Photos provided/SSM Health

A special socially-distanced ribbon-cutting ceremony is set to begin at 6:15 pm, featuring leaders from SSM Health, SLU Hospital, SLUCare, and Saint Louis University
Details of the new hospital were officially announced five years ago on September 1st, 2015.  The new hospital broke ground in 2017.
The $550 million, 802,000 square foot facility is just north of the old SLU Hospital.  All patients were transported to the new hospital over the weekend through a skylight corridor that connects the two facilities. 

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"I think what you can expect to see is just a beautiful environment that is very patient-centric so that we can provide exceptional healthcare to our patients," said Kelly Baumer, the Vice President of Clinical Services for SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.  "You will see a lot of new technology. You will see a beautiful place with lots of green space, a lot of natural light in the facility, and really just advanced opportunities for higher levels of care."
The new SLU hospital
One of the many highlights of the new facility is the greatly enlarged emergency department.
"It is pretty much triple the size of the old emergency department," Baumer tells KMOX.  "So a much larger platform with five Level One trauma bays in the ED.  We have many other rooms in the emergency department to care of anyone's healthcare needs as they come to us for emergent care.  We also have a dedicated CT scanner in the emergency department which allows patients to come right in the doors and be taken to a CT scanner if that is appropriate for their care at this point."
The new hospital also includes 316 inpatient rooms.
"We have all private patient rooms with three zones in all our rooms," said Baumer.  "One of the zones is for our caregivers.  We have the patient zone.  And we have a family zone --- where there is a couch that could be turned into a bed if any family member would need to spend the night in that room with their loved one."
Baumer says SSM Health went out of its way to provide an open and light feeling for the new hospital building.
"Everywhere in the facility that we could put natural light, we did," said Baumer.  "So we have a lot of floor-to-ceiling windows -- whether that's in the patient room area or in our waiting spaces.  We also have a beautiful healing garden on the lower level of the facility so it is a great area where people can really be with nature.  If patients are well enough, we can actually take them out to this garden.  It is also available for staff and visitors to the campus."
Baumer says visitors should also take note of the new parking area.
"We have a brand new parking garage which has just a little under a thousand spaces that will be for all of our patients and visitors," Baumer said.  "We'll be using other parking areas on the campus for our staff and physicians."
The new SLU hospital
Photos provided/SSM Health

"I've been in the medical field at Saint Louis University my entire professional career," said Dr. Fred Buckhold, a SLUCare general internist at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.   "I started here as a student in 2003 and from my perspective after 17 years here, moving into a new hospital seems a bit surreal.  I'm very excited.  I really want to credit both my institution Saint Louis University and our partners SSM Health for getting this done.  It really is exciting."
Dr. Buckhold says his colleagues are excited too.
"All our physicians will now be working in world-class facilities," Dr. Buckhold tells KMOX.  "Our surgeons are now working in world-class operating rooms.  Our cardiologists are working in world-class catheterization suites.  Our gastroenterologists are working in world-class endoscopy suites.  There's natural light in every nook and cranny of the hospital.  The workspaces for physicians and nurses and our advanced care providers are first class as well."
And while all the upgrades and new technology are nice, Dr. Buckhold says it is the patients who will benefit the most.
"It's wonderful to be moving into a very modern facility that's designed to take care of patients in the 21st Century," said Dr. Buckhold.  "I'm very pleased and excited and it's good for our patients -- which is the most important thing."
As for what happens now to the old hospital building -- the iconic Desloge Tower?  Hospital officials say it will remain intact.
"We are still looking at the Desloge Tower to see how it will be re-purposed," said Baumer.  "Those plans are still under development."

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