Cookeville Regional Plans $20 Million OR Expansion

Cookeville Regional Medical Center is planning a $20 million project to add six new operating rooms. While the hospital currently has 10 operating rooms that were built in the 1980s, nearly half of those rooms are 400 square feet, which is smaller than today's standard operating room size of 600 square feet. The expansion includes the addition of six new 650-square-foot rooms in a shelled area of the North Patient Tower.

"Today, there's so much equipment, there are so many people in these rooms for general surgery, laparoscopic surgery, just the bread and butter stuff we do — they're too small," said Paul Korth, chief financial officer for CRMC. "When we built the North Patient Tower, the first floor was always kind of shelled out for the OR. We knew we'd have to do this at some point in time. We've been successful recently in getting some new surgeons in, so our surgical volume has increased. We also want to recruit additional surgeons in the future. So we need to expand to meet those goals."

The project is set to begin in early 2012. The hospital will continue to use the older rooms for minor surgeries, and two additional rooms might also be built in the future in the North Patient Tower.

"The next big thing that you'll see in surgery, and you've probably seen this in some of the bigger cities, you'll actually have an MRI and CT scanner right in the room," Korth said. "We're not quite ready for that yet. We need to build this, get it up and running, then we'll look at doing those two [additional rooms] a couple years down the road."